Khaneil Bruce only ever wanted to become one thing: a professional football player. Even though Bruce lost sight in one of his eyes recently, he has told reporters that he will never give up on this dream.
Bruce was brought up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the famous home of Harvard. Times were very tough for Bruce growing up. His mother lost her job when Bruce was only seven years old. Bruce told reporters that times got so bad that his mother would have to skip meals so he and his siblings could eat.
To escape the brutal facts of life, Bruce often watched NFL games with his father or uncle. Early on, Bruce was inspired by players like Troy Brown and Randy Moss, both of whom were wide receivers.
Once Bruce got into high school, he began playing wide receiver for the school's football team. He immediately proved to be extremely talented at the sport, making both the All-State team and becoming an All-Scholastic for football. During his senior year, Bruce was dreaming of playing football for the University of Oregon.
Unfortunately for Bruce, he wasn't accepted into the University of Oregon. However, his coaches were able to contact Boston College and Oregon State University. Although Bruce wanted desperately to join the Oregon State Beavers, his SAT scores were not high enough to be accepted for the Div. I scholarship.
So, instead of heading off to Oregon, Bruce enrolled at Nassau Community College in Long Island, New York. He hoped that after two years at this college he would be able to move on to the big times.
Things were going spectacularly well at Nassau. Bruce caught nine passes in the first six games he played, all of which were victories for Nassau. But then, in 2014, a serious accident called Bruce's dreams into question.
On October 18th of 2014, Bruce and his teammates defeated Dead College 38-0. After this amazing victory, Bruce just wanted to relax the next day. And that's what he did. He slept in, played a few video games, and talked with his father on the telephone.
Now, looking back on October 19th, Bruce sees a dark prophecy in his father's admonition to "be careful." Although Bruce had heard this warning thousands of times from his dad, today was the day he really needed to take that advice seriously.
Later on in the day, Bruce went to one of his teammates' homes. Then, as Bruce was walking towards the house, he felt an intense pressure build up in his left eye. Bruce had been accidentally shot by someone with a BB gun.
Bruce quickly ran back to his car and saw in the car's mirror that his eye was bleeding. Friends ran outside to see what was going on, and they instantly knew Bruce needed professional medical attention.
Bruce was rushed in for surgery in a New York emergency room. Later, when Bruce woke up in his hospital bed, he realized that he had completely lost sight in his left eye. When he visited a doctor in Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the doctor told him it would be difficult to play football again.
But Bruce didn't let the doctors dissuade him. Although it took him a long time to re-learn basic things like picking up glasses of water, Bruce eventually joined his teammates on the Nassau Community College football team. At the end of the season, Bruce had made 32 catches, ran 447 yards, and made four touchdowns.
Eventually, Bruce was contacted by Div. II University of New Haven for a scholarship. Now Bruce is playing wide receiver for New Haven, and he continues to pursue his dream of playing in the major leagues. He credits all of his recent successes to his mother, who now works as a receptionist for Massachusetts Eye and Ear.