If adversity is preparation for road ahead, consider Gio Bernard well prepared. The former North Carolina running back is in the midst of his 2013 NFL Draft preparation. If his NFL career has any bumps or potholes, he is not concerned. After everything he has endured growing up, the grind of the NFL will be easy.
Gio’s mother passed away from cancer when he was just seven. His family plunged into darkness without their light. In the months after, Gio, his brother, and his father lost their home, family business, and cars. Their finances were drained and emotions spent. Gio’s father Yven was forced to take his sons to a rundown, dangerous area of town just to afford rent. The conditions were miserable and even then, Yven struggled to pay the bills on time. In the blink of an eye after his mother’s death, Gio’s entire life was upheaved. If not for the compassion of neighbors, it’s unknown what would have become of the family.
According to the Charlotte Observer, friends and neighbors helped out, taking Gio to school, giving him a place to stay, and assisting where they could. This included NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Chris Carter, whose son was teammates with Gio on their youth football team. Carter helped the family financially and also ensuring Gio was at practice on time and in shape. Carter became a role model for the young man, something that Gio is thankful for the rest of his life.
While off the field, things slowly got back on track for Gio, on-the-field he continued to face adversity. Injuries his senior year of high school and freshman year of college kept him out of action for the two years. Gio rebounded well, setting a North Carolina freshman record his first full year of play and despite battling additional leg injuries, still was a dangerous runner in the ACC for most of his career. NFL teams rank him as the second-best running back in this year’s draft, but are skeptical about his durability and size. Let them knock his height (5’8) and weight (202lbs), but Gio isn’t worried.
“I’m still there. I’m still on the field, I’m still producing.” (Charlotte Observer). In other words, bring it on because he’ll find a way to succeed. No matter what stands in your way this week, find a way to produce positive results.