Leodis Moore III wasn't too concerned about the pain he felt in his chest.

It didn't seem like a big deal.

"I slept right through it. The next day it was gone," Moore said.

The pain came back, though.

And it was worse.

"It was a grieving pain," Moore said. "I ended up going to the hospital."

A month before the start of his senior season, the Eastern Kentucky University defensive back was forced to undergo a series of serious tests on his heart.

He was eventually diagnosed with a rare disease called Myocarditis.

"It shocked me," Moore said. "It's still shocking to me."

That shocking revelation meant that Moore's college football career would come to a premature end.

The disease causes inflammation of the heart muscle and can lead to weaken of the heart, forcing it to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body.

The condition often is the result of an infection, sometimes as simple as the common cold.

"I was so anxious to get out there and show what I can do," Moore said. "I've been held back before, but I'm a senior. It just seems like a movie. It was different than before."

Moore had suffered through setbacks like this before.

The Indianapolis, Ind., native had to miss the entire 2017 tear his ACL in training camp.

He was determined to come back stronger — and smarter — after that serious injury.

"I just looked at it as a chance to get better and get deeper into the playbook," Moore. "I just took that opportunity to learn."

Moore certainly showcased what he learned.

The 5-foot-9, 205-pound defensive back had a tremendous junior season.

He was a First-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection, finishing with 48 tackles, six tackles-of-loss, five interceptions, five pass break-ups and one blocked kick.

"It's been a shame," EKU coach Mark Elder said of Moore. "He's worked really hard. He had a fantastic year in 2017. I think we found the best position for him in our system was that sam nickel spot. That was the perfect fit for his skill set. He was our most productive player, statsicially."

The Indianapolis native stayed in Richmond to work out with his teammates last summer.

He felt he was ready to have a special senior season.

Then, everything changed.

After he was diagnosed with Myocarditis, Moore wasn't initially ruled out for the season.

He consulted with several doctors, hoping to at least get the opportunity to return to practice.

"It was just supposed to be six weeks. Then, it just kept getting prolonged," Moore said.

The process was agonizing.

Moore had hoped to be cleared medically after EKU's game on Sept. 14 at Indiana State.

That didn't happen.

"I thought I was going to spark the whole team up," Moore said. "It was just going to be the greatest season ever. I knew it was going to happen."

Not long after that, Moore was told he would not play at all this season.

"It was just unfortunate how it was taken from him," Elder said of Moore.

"He said it was a low percentage chance that anything can happen," Moore said. "I still believe I can still play."

At just 5-foot-9, Moore has always had work to get a chance to play. He was a standout at Warren Central High School and earned All-State honors.

He played in nine games, with one start, as a true freshman in 2016.

A year later, he had two interceptions and 27 tackles.

"I don't let it get to me at all," Moore said of his height. "I feel like I've got the heart of a lion, especially when I step onto that field."

Moore decided to make a very personal change prior to his breakout junior season.

After going by Trey for years, he wanted people to call him Leodis again.

"I wanted to let the world know my real name. I wanted to leave a legacy," Moore said. "There's a lot of Treys. I wanted to stick out more. It's a strong name. It needed to be heard."

Leodis shares that name with his farther and grandfather — who were both not especially tall, but were good athletes.

Leodis Moore Sr., was a state wrestling champion in Indiana.

Leodis Moore Jr., played football in high school before becoming a barber.

"He's the strongest man I've ever met," Moore said of father.

Moore's mother and father were at Roy Kidd Stadium last Saturday for Senior Day ceremonies.

He hopes that they will get a chance to see him play football again.

The senior is set to graduate in December with a degree in criminal justice.

He could apply for a medical redshirt and move on to another school as a graduate transfer.

Or he could try to play at the next level.

"I just keep telling myself it's not going to last forever," Moore said of his condition. "I'm trying to stay positive and the NFL isn't there, I'm still going to be successful. There's a lot of opportunity out there. I don't think you've seen the last of me. I've got good things coming."

React to this story:

2
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you