Holmes story an inspiration to others

Brad Holmes! At 6’3” and 275 pounds, he has been a key contributor in the Aggies’ defensive line and leaves a big space to fill with his graduation.Born on July 29, 1979, Brad’s childhood was spent with his parents Melvin and Joan Holmes and his sister Tara Holmes in Tampa, Fla. As the son of a former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard, Holmes says his father’s career was the biggest inspiration for him to play football.Brad Holmes began playing baseball and took an interest in football when he went to visit his grandparents in South Carolina. “Eating my grandma’s cooking put a little weight on me, so I decided to give football a try,” said Holmes. Although a native Floridian, he turned down scholarship offers from Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman to attend A&T. Commonly known as B-Holmes by his teammates, Holmes maintains a good reputation on and off the field. “Brad is a real down-to-earth guy,” says wide receiver Steve Shipp. “I first met Brad in 1999 and we have been friends ever since.” But his career hasn’t been trouble-free. While home in Tampa for Christmas break of 1999, Holmes was involved in a car wreck. He suffered a ruptured diaphragm when a Lexus sport utility vehicle hit the Honda Accord he was driving on the driver’s sidehead-on. After his arrival at the hospital, Holmes went into a coma and suffered a stroke prior to having emergency surgery. Three days after the accident, Holmes had to have a second operation because the first operation did not go well. The stroke left him partially paralyzed on his right side and his speech was garbled. During his three weeks in the hospital, Holmes had lost nearly 30 pounds.The road to recovery was not smooth for Holmes. He had to receive speech and physical therapy. He started slowly, but eventually his garbled speech was gone, and he wasn’t able to walk longer distances.Once Holmes recuperated, he worked at the University of South Florida’s physical education department part-time, assigning equipment and checking students in the school’s athletic facility. He was able to get back in the weight room and do more than running.“When the doctor gave me the green light to lift weights again, I did,” said Holmes. In May 2001, Holmes’ doctor released him to play football. He began practicing with his teammates in off-season workouts. “He recovered extremely fast,” says Shipp. “He has the heart of a lion — never giving up.”Holmes is currently a senior public relations major. He maintains a 3.6 grade point average and looks forward to graduation. “When Brad graduates I will remember the quiet reserved student who sat in the rear of my class,” said professor Jacqueline Jones. I will also remember his presentation style and oratorical ability to get his audience attention.” “I’m not sure if I will work for a corporation, a public relations firm or a non-profit organization,” says Holmes. “Whichever I choose, I’m going to be successful.”