Family: Star athlete who died after tackle was an 'overcomer'

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Robert Grays died doing what he loved: playing football, his family says. (KTRK)

His teammates walked in - two by two - to show their respects.

The football fields underneath their feet were a constant reminder of the last time they saw their friend. That, too, was on a football field.

Cornerback Robert Grays, 19, was doing what he loved.

"There's a certain sense of numb disbelief for such a freak accident to happen," family friend Kwatzi Alibaruho said. "I'm just sorry for such a bright light to be extinguished so early in his life."

Grays died Tuesday from injuries he sustained while playing in Saturday's game in Wichita Falls between Midwestern State University and Texas A&M-Kingsville.

PHOTOS: Robert Grays' family turns church into football stadium

Grays tacked another player, and badly hurt his neck.

Today's funeral at Word of Restoration International Church in Rosharon was packed with friends, family and former high school teammates.

The entire Midwestern State football team also attended today's service.

"I think a lot of people here are feeling tremendously blessed to have known Robert Jr.," Alibaruho said.

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Former Hightower HS player dies after in-game injury, Steve Campion reports.

Grays' great uncle, Bruce Lane, said you couldn't help but love the standout athlete because of the attitude he brought with him.

"If you've seen the movie 'Rudy,' he had that type of intensity. He was a hard worker. And when you talk about that smile, it wasn't just a smile, it was an infectious type smile," Lane said.

Grays graduated from Hightower High in 2016, a star athlete with a bright future. That is how many from his alma mater will remember him, youth pastor Nakia Thomas said.

"Everything he was told he couldn't do, he proved that he could," Thomas said. "He probably was one of the best players to ever play here at Hightower, so he has a legacy here at this school that will never be forgotten."

The university has established several memorial funds to pay for medical expenses and to assist Grays' family. You can make a donation on the Midwestern State University website.
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