BATON ROUGE - A message of hope and perseverance was the focal point at Hearts of Ease Family Life Church on Sunday.
Former defensive and defensive tackle for the New York Jets, Dennis Byrd, talked about the day that put his life on a different course.
In November of 1992, Byrd was severely injured after running into one of his teammates and destroying one of his vertebrae.
As a result, he was paralyzed for a week and suffered some damage that had some doctors doubting the success of his recovery.
But Byrd said he never doubted what God would do through his circumstance.
"The peace and the comfort for me that came from a relationship with Christ...and it was that strength that helped me to make sense of, to understand, to overcome, to cope with, deal with...those difficult moments," said Byrd.
He said he wants to encourage people because everyone needs hope.
"I think there's always a need for a message of hope because there's always going to be hurting people."
People who showed up to hear him speak said they were moved by Byrd's message.
"It was an amazing message of hope, it was an amazing message of courage. I feel inspired right now," said Robert Maxie.
Debra Williams who knows Byrd's parents said her nephew was also an athlete and was injured, so she could relate to some of what Byrd had to say.
"That story really touched me when I found out how God had healed and how God had restored him."
Byrd still tosses the football around with his kids and enjoys spending time at home with his family.