Richardson Keeps Hope Alive Following Injury

Physically, he may be partially paralyzed. Mentally, he's far from being weakened. In this exclusive Devils Digest interview, Angelo Richardson talked to us from the Kaiser Permanente Rehabilitation Center about his rehab and the great part that the Sun Devil family has played in his recovery efforts.

Angelo Richardson, California's top junior college wide receiver and one the marquee names of the Sun Devils' 2006 recruiting class, was injured in San Francisco in a random shooting incident that took place the first weekend of March. He has been in the rehab center for about a week and half, following his stay at an ICU of a bay area hospital.

"Rehab is going OK," said Angelo Richardson. "I work as hard as I can on all the exercises they have me doing. I work out from 9:30-5, so I rehab all day with just a lunch break in between. I do some weights, workouts on the mat to get my body moving, stuff like that."

The paralysis is confined to his lower body, and was caused by the swelling of the spinal cord, which wasn't directly hit by the bullet. His upper body, which suffered the gun shot, has been recovering quite nicely according to Richardson. "I still have to heal, because I have four broken ribs," he commented, "so I'm a little sore but it's getting better."

The smile in Richardson's voice was evident through out our entire conversation. Even through these tough times, his gregarious personality hasn't suffered a bit, nor has his spirits dampen. "I'm a soul survivor," he remarked. "I gotta stay strong. I find a lot strength in god. I wake up everyday and pray. My grandmother is very religious, and whenever I get down I just listen to her voice and that raises my spirit up to the roof. God is what keeps me going, because I know he will heal me."

The Arizona State coaches and fans have been doing their part in Richardson's healing process. Last week Head Coach Dirk Koetter and Wide Receivers Coach Darryl Jackson visited him at the rehab center. Furthermore, letters of support have been pouring in from the Sun Devil faithful. "The coaches that came down to see me showed me a lot of love," he stated. "You can tell that they treat me like family. They didn't show pity or feel sorry for me, but were just concerned for my well being and what is best for me. Whether I play football or not, I know they're gonna honor my scholarship there."

"I got some mail from Sun Devil fans and it has been real inspirational," Richardson continued. "A lot of the mail touches my heart when I read it. There was one letter that a fan wrote me that had a lot of inspirational words and encouragement. He was very god-oriented. Reading that letter made me feel like he was in the room with me, talking to me…all those letters have been a great experience all around."

The main reason the Richardson chose the Sun Devils, was to rekindle the high school connection with former San Ramon Valley teammate and current ASU signal caller Sam Keller. The Sun Devil senior visited Richardson several days ago, in what was described as an emotional visit. "A lot of people don't know that Sam and I are really good friends outside of football," said Richardson. "We're not close just because he's a good quarterback and I'm a good receiver. So, it's hard to see one of your good friends injured like that."

When asked what message he wanted to convey to the maroon and gold faithful, he replied: "I wanna tell all the Sun Devil fans that I'll be all right and I'll be back." Whether it's playing football or living a productive life, one can hope that his prediction comes true and soon…

Angelo can receive mail at the following address:

Angelo Richardson Kaiser Permanente Rehabilitation Center 975 Sereno Drive Room 302D Vallejo, CA 94589

Angelo and his family have endorsed the following:

The Angelo Richardson Fund
c/o The Misa Foundation
P.O. Box 8175
Vallejo, CA 94590
The federal tax ID # is 73-01717355

The MISA Foundation is part of the Charitable Alliance, a 501-c-3 Corp. based at:
100 Cambridge
Newport Beach, CA 92660
This foundation is legitimate and is being run by two friends of the Richardson family: Mike Keller (Sam's father) and Doug Mathers (close family friend to Angelo).

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