Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

Super Inspiration Super Experience

By C.D. Olano

Photographs By Labrawn Saffold

Labrawn Saffold on top of his game:
Saffold showing his excitement over experiencing the NFL Superbowl XLI.

The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, caution lights called Family, and you will have fl ats called Jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, insurance called Faith, and a driver called JESUS, you will make it to a place called Success.” —Unknown

This is only one of the inspirational sayings Labrawn Saffold has on his Myspace page. The humor, straightforwardness, and hope of the message, are truly what Saffold is all about. He has had a busy life for someone so young and experiences that no one should have to live through. At the age of 13, he was on top of the world. He was an excellent athlete, an honor student, and a class president. He flew to Africa with Derrick Brooks and Tony Dungy as part of a group of 20 boys from Tampa and Orlando selected to see the other side of the world. In an interview published June 26, 2000, it was reported that while on the trip through Africa, Saffold, a friend, and their chaperone always followed behind the rest of the group. The interviewer asked Saffold why that was. “We’re the bodyguards,” he said. “You think they have any job openings?” At the age of 16, there was a terrible accident. He has spoken of his injury sustained in the crash, but the news report about it details a more horrible event. He was driving. The car flipped. He had three other children in the car with him; his 11, 13 and 15-year-old cousins. The body of the 11-year-old girl, Angela, was not found until the car was lifted. Saffold and one other victim were rushed to the ICU. Saffold was actually pronounced dead on arrival, but the doctors worked hard to resuscitate him. He was diagnosed with a severe spinal injury and told that he would probably never walk again. In an interview for Fox 13 news about how he coped, Saffold said that he was faced with two choices while he was laying in that bed. He could cling to a bunch of excuses for why he could feel sorry for himself, or he could work hard to be reliant on himself and become strong enough to one day help others. Now, he is a senator for the HCC Ybor campus Student Government Association (SGA). He is an honor student. He is pursuing a degree in mass communications. And, he is a mentor working with the Boys and Girls Club, schools, and All Sports Community Service, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring children in need. He tries to impress upon young people the importance of the decisions they make and the value of education. He is an inspirational speaker. Saffold purposefully uses this term instead of a motivational speaker. In a video of a press conference on YouTube, he was asked why that is and he told them it is because anyone can be motivated to do anything; he tries to really inspire individuals to be better people. On SGA election day, Saffold was outside working for his votes. He was shaking hands and if there had been babies he would have been kissing them. He really wanted to be in the SGA so that he could make some positive changes, not just for the students but for the whole community. “A community college should give something back to the community,” said Saffold. He is greatly inspired by his love for God. In all interviews, Saffold is a happy person eager to share himself. He expresses often how precious life is and has faith that there isn’t anything that can’t be overcome. He really is an inspiration. He has grown up to become a bodyguard for many.

Labrawn Saffold has on his Myspace page. The humor, straightforwardness, and hope of the message, are truly what Saffold is all about. He has had a busy life for someone so young and experiences that no one should have to live through. At the age of 13, he was on top of the world. He was an excellent athlete, an honor student, and a class president. He flew to Africa with Derrick Brooks and Tony Dungy as part of a group of 20 boys from Tampa and Orlando selected to see the other side of the world. In an interview published June 26, 2000, it was reported that while on the trip through Africa, Saffold, a friend, and their chaperone always followed behind the rest of the group. The interviewer asked Saffold why that was. “We’re the bodyguards,” he said. “You think they have any job openings?” At the age of 16, there was a terrible accident. He has spoken of his injury sustained in the crash, but the news report about it details a more horrible event. He was driving. The car flipped. He had three other children in the car with him; his 11, 13 and 15-year-old cousins. The body of the 11-year-old girl, Angela, was not found until the car was lifted. Saffold and one other victim were rushed to the ICU. Saffold was actually pronounced dead on arrival, but the doctors worked hard to resuscitate him. He was diagnosed with a severe spinal injury and told that he would probably never walk again. In an interview for Fox 13 news about how he coped, Saffold said that he was faced with two choices while he was laying in that bed. He could cling to a bunch of excuses for why he could feel sorry for himself, or he could work hard to be reliant on himself and become strong enough to one day help others. Now, he is a senator for the HCC Ybor campus Student Government Association (SGA). He is an honor student. He is pursuing a degree in mass communications. And, he is a mentor working with the Boys and Girls Club, schools, and All Sports Community Service, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring children in need. He tries to impress upon young people the importance of the decisions they make and the value of education. He is an inspirational speaker. Saffold purposefully uses this term instead of a motivational speaker. In a video of a press conference on YouTube, he was asked why that is and he told them it is because anyone can be motivated to do anything; he tries to really inspire individuals to be better people. On SGA election day, Saffold was outside working for his votes. He was shaking hands and if there had been babies he would have been kissing them. He really wanted to be in the SGA so that he could make some positive changes, not just for the students but for the whole community. “A community college should give something back to the community,” said Saffold. He is greatly inspired by his love for God. In all interviews, Saffold is a happy person eager to share himself. He expresses often how precious life is and has faith that there isn’t anything that can’t be overcome. He really is an inspiration. He has grown up to become a bodyguard for many.

Labrawn Saffold has a website where he can be reached by businesses, organizations or schools interested in having him come in as an inspirational speaker: http://www. labrawn.com

Labrawn Saffold holding the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Saffold’s work for All Sports Community Service landed him the opportunity of a lifetime. The non-profit organization was founded by Tyrone Keys, Executive Director, with the help of the late Jerry Ulm Sr. It was founded in response to the tragic death of Albert Perry. Keys was a part of the 1985 Chicago Bears team, winners of the football national championship. Keys had previously told Saffold that he would be going to the Super Bowl. Saffold jokingly continued to ask Keys to hide him in the trunk of his car when he left for Miami. Then, on Tuesday morning Jan. 30, Keys invited him to come along. He told Saffold that he was unable to get any tickets to the Super Bowl, but he was able to spring for an extra hotel room for him in the city of the big game. Saffold took the trip to Miami not knowing what to expect. He was introduced to many celebrities during the stay in Miami. Saffold said he was already having the weekend of a lifetime, but suddenly things changed. On the morning of the Super Bowl, Keys entered Saffold’s room and gave him a ticket to the Super Bowl. He had a seat on the first level with an excellent view of the game. He had never, in a million years, imagined that he would experience the thrill of going to a Super Bowl game. He was even given the privilege of taking a picture with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Saffold experienced, what he calls, the best weekend of his life.

Labrawn posing with All-pro linebacker Ray Lewis.

Saffold’s Super Bowl victory was also a victory for civil rights workers everywhere. This was the first Super Bowl where the teams were led by African American coaches. It was a historic event. Johnnie Cochran and Washington lawyer Cyrus Mehri once threatened to sue the NFL over their biased hiring practices. Cyrus is general counsel for the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group formed to promote minority hiring at all levels of the NFL and named for the first black coach in NFL history.

Labrawn congratulating, Indianapolis coach, Tony Dungy on his Superbowl win.

It is the culmination of 4 years of hard work from people within the NFL and others that has finally opened up the doors for African American coaches. In 2002, before Cochran and Mehri issued a report on the dismal state of affairs in the NFL, there were only two black head coaches. That led to the enactment of a rule, whereby the owners of the teams agreed that anyone with a head coaching vacancy must agree to interview at least one qualified minority applicant.

Labrawn showing his excitement and appreciation for, Hollywood stars, Lisa Raye (left) and Vivica Fox (right).

This has led to great opportunities for many. last season, there were seven black head coaches in the NFL. The fight is still not over, despite the great strides that have been taken. In the NCAA, there are only seven black coaches amongst the 119 programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division 1-A).



Labrawn posing with, Chicago Bears coach, Lovie Smith.

Players rushing onto the fields of a historic Superbowl event.

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