BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The best, most memorable play of wide receiver Chad Hall's three-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles occurred after training camp practice at Lehigh University August 1.
Hall, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former second lieutenant stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, shaved his head at midfield as an effort to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. He was joined on the field by 300 members of the five branches of the U.S. armed forces as part of the team's annual Military Day at training camp.
"I'm really just trying to take our minds off us and really appreciate these guys and what they do for our country," Hall said August 1. "We're fighting on the field, but it's so minuscule to what these people do for us. They're overseas fighting for our freedom every day."
After practice ended, members of the military joined Eagles backup quarterback Trent Edwards, guard Evan Mathis and several other players in shaving Hall's head.
The last person to take hold of the razor was Wounded Warrior Project representative Shane Parsons, a retired sergeant with the U.S. Army.
Six years ago, Parsons was on a mission in Rhamadi, Iraq, when anti-coalition forces attacked his convoy. A roadside bomb detonated under his Humvee. Parsons, now 26, suffered a severe anoxic brain injury. He also suffered three cardiac arrests, underwent 15 operations, and eventually had both legs amputated above the knee.
Parsons is now able to read on a first-grade level. On July 30, he realized his dream of becoming an assistant football coach at Fostoria St. Wendelin Junior High School in his hometown of Fostoria, Ohio, just outside Toledo.
"I'm helping to coach the offensive line because I was an offensive lineman in high school," Parsons said August 1. "I actually played against 'Big Ben' (Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) in high school. I went to Fostoria and he went to Findlay and we were big rivals. He beat us, but it was a good game.
"I just want to do whatever I can to help kids realize their dreams and teach them how to focus and fight for what they believe in. That's my motto. Nothing can keep me down. I ski, I skydive, I do a lot of things. I don't like to hear anyone say, 'I can't.' That's not in my vocabulary."