Football legend and Jackson State coach Deion Sanders is crediting Jesus for carrying him through a medical emergency last year when he nearly lost his life.
The former NFL and Major League Baseball standout told Chris Neely of Thee Pregame Show that he "called on the Lord all night" while in the hospital with a femoral arterial blood clot, a life-threatening condition.
Doctors considered amputating Sanders left leg, from the knee down. In the end, they only amputated two toes on his left foot.
Sanders said he remains thankful despite the loss.
"It was a blessing, because I could have lost my life very easily," he said. "Very easily. ... The thought process of losing my leg from knee down – it was almost there. So when I look up and say, 'Thank-you Jesus', because I know the quiet cries at night that were in that hospital. I know all those speaking in tongues and the prayer and the fellowship with God and praising Him through and through.
"I'm pretty sure that some of the nurses thought I was crazy," Sanders said, laughing.
"But He heard you," Neely said.
"Amen," Sanders responded.
Sanders is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame and formerly was a football analyst for CBS and the NFL Network.
He became head coach of Jackson State in 2020 and led them to an 11-2 record in 2021, his first full season following a pandemic-shortened season.
Sanders, an outspoken Christian, said he considers the number 21 God's sign that He's near. Sanders wore the number as a professional athlete. He also was Jackson State's 21st head coach.
"God always shows me 21 in different ways [and] lets me know that 'I'm in this,'" Sanders said. "... Sometime I could be rambling, going to school and headed somewhere. And I see a truck pass by with … [a] license plate [that] would say 21. You know, or a school bus.
"... He allows me to know."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Maddie Meyer/Staff
Video courtesy: ©Thee Pregame Show
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.