Legacy charter school in Spring prepares student athletes for sports careers

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A new Houston charter school is preparing student athletes for life after sports.

For every athlete, there comes a time when the cheering ends and the game of life begins.

Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Brown met the end of his football career during a 1997 game against the New York Jets when a horrific spinal cord injury left him paralyzed and near death.

At just 23 years old, the former Texas A&M standout was finished with sports. Or, so he thought.

Now, 20 years after a miraculous recovery, Reggie spends much of his time in a construction zone, working behind the scenes with his wife, Kerrie Paterson Brown, on her vision for a high school that prepares student athletes for life beyond the field.

After seven years of planning and recruiting, Legacy: The School of Sport Sciences, will open August 20 in Spring to more than 500 middle and high school students.

"We teach kids math, science, social studies and English through the sports arena, either in the playing of the game or the industry itself," said Patterson Brown, the school's executive director.

As construction finishes on the free charter school, these spaces will soon be the training ground for classes in sports medicine, sports media and marketing, as well as athletic administration, and taught by former college and pro athletes, in addition to experts from St. Luke's Medical Center.

"There's a lot of professions from the time you park your car at a sporting event until the time you get to actually see the player," said Brown, of the sports business. "It's kind of bridging that gap and trying to just expose them to the certain things, that they could possibly still have that same impact in sports but just may not make it to become that player."

Parents of Legacy's inaugural class of student athletes say the school's approach is very honest, both in the classroom and on the field.

"The unfortunate truth is most of us will not make it to the big leagues and we need to fall back on something that's more reasonable, that can still get you a good living," said Michael Llanes, as he watched his daughter from the sidelines as she yelled out cheers from one of the school's newly-sodded fields.

Legacy students will graduate with an endorsement in the sports industry and have the option of earning college credits while they are in school.

"One day the ball's gonna stop bouncing, you know, the final whistle's gonna blow, everybody's careers come to an end at some certain point. So, it's what are you going to do to prepare yourself for when that athletic part of your life stops and you still want to be around athletics," Brown said, as he left the nearly finished school to pick up two of the school's students: his own children.

The school is still accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. Click here to learn more.

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