Football Tackle Leaves One Paralyzed, Another Full of Guilt, Now Best Friends

Football Tackle Leaves One Paralyzed, Another Full of Guilt, Now Best Friends

by -

Herman Jacobs and Marc Buoniconti screenshot HBO

A single play, for a single yard, shattered two football players’ lives forever — and made them best friends.

In the 30 years since that fateful day when Marc Buoniconti’s tackle of Herman Jacobs left him a quadriplegic, they have each carried the other through difficult times.

Buoniconti, a linebacker for the Citadel launched himself headfirst at Jacobs, who was carrying the ball for East Tennessee State on October 26, 1985. It was an accident, of course, but stopping the player with his head left Buoniconti paralyzed.

WATCH: War Veterans Reunite After Unknowingly Living 18 years as Neighbors

When Jacobs learned of Buoniconti condition, his own life began spiraling out of control over guilt. He lost interest in football, gave up a likely professional career, dropped out of college, and suffered from depression.

Buoniconti reached out to Jacobs in 2007 and their meeting turned into a solid friendship — even led to them being roommates for a while. When Buoniconti’s regular nurse fell ill, Jacobs took on care-giving duties.

The friendship turned Jacobs’ life around for the better, inspiring him toward a new degree and a culinary career.

RELATED: Hi-Tech Mouthguard Flags Concussion to Protect Athlete’s Brain

Likewise, Jacobs’ friendship inspired his old opponent throughout his days as president of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis — a nonprofit credited with various breakthroughs in spinal cord research.

The Project’s stellar research and new rehabilitation center at the University of Miami medical school leads Buoniconti to believe he will one day walk again because of the treatments.

(WATCH the Real Sports video below and READ more at the Miami Herald) — Photo: Real Sports video