Dakota State’s Emmauel Drain has overcome cancer to play college football for Trojans

Trojans freshman has been an inspiration in Madison
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 11:37 PM CST
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MADISON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -It takes a lot of practice and dedication to play sports at the collegiate level. But even more so when you’re at a physical disadvantage.

Cooper Seamer has more in our Karl’s TV and Appliance Athlete of the Week, on a Dakota State football player that making the most with the hand he’s been dealt.

Emmanuel Drain has spent much of his first semester on college like many other student athletes: practicing, keeping up with classes, and getting acquainted with his new teammates and home. “It’s been great since the beginning of summer when I got here, it’s been amazing.” Drain said.

While the move from Houston, Texas to Madison, South Dakota has been a big jump, it’s something he’s already falling in love with. “In a small town, but it’s where everybody knows you. So they all know you, they all want to come to your game and watch you play. It’s amazing to just have.” Drain said.

But overcoming his first year on campus is hardly Emmanuel’s hardest challenge. He was diagnosed with cancer at only four years old. He beat it, but it cost him his left eye. “I had the surgery. It went well, everything went great. They removed my eye, put in a prosthetic. And know I’m just here, thank God.” Drain said.

Playing football with only one eye was something Drain has learned to deal with as well. It’s that skill of overcoming adversities that Dakota State Head Coach Josh Anderson said he wanted when recruiting him. “We didn’t have doubt recruiting him, that he could make plays. And we thought, ‘Well, maybe do we have to have him on one side or the other?’ And he said, ‘Nope, I just turn my head a little bit more or do whatever I need to to make it work.’ And he does. He’s just a fantastic player.” Anderson said.

And more importantly, he’s already stepped up to be a leader in the locker room and in the community. “His character, his attitude, his effort. He’s just so easy to like that, who cares if he only has one eye. He’ll make the most of it, and joke about it himself so you don’t have to give him guff or try to not feel uncomfortable.” Anderson said.

He’s already got some varsity time this season, and even was featured in his own commercial with St. Jude’s; where he received care and treatment after his diagnosis. “You know, it was hard for my parents. But they didn’t have to pay for a flight, they didn’t have to pay for my surgery. It was just easier on them.” Drain said.

Dakota State only has one more game left in their season, but Drain is laying it all out on the field, and looking forward to calling Madison home for years to come. “I give my word to God. Because of Him, I’m out here doing everything that I’m able to do. I try to be more dominant, and try to change the game.” Drain said.

In Madison, Cooper Seamer Dakota News Now.