Bonus: ESPN’s Tim Keown and ‘The Fearless Bailey Foley’

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Bailey Foley was always the hammer, never the nail.

That’s what made him so special as an undersized defensive end at Fortuna High School. His coach could just put him in, turn him loose and know that Bailey would blow up plays by the opposing team.

That’s also what made Bailey’s life-threatening injury so shocking and why it left his teammates and coaches — an entire community on the northern coast of California — re-evaluating the risk-reward value of football.

Ultimately, every coach and nearly every player opted to continue, vowing not only to play for Bailey, but like him. The result was Fortuna High School’s first state championship.

Reporter Tim Keown chronicled the story of Bailey Foley in ESPN the Magazine. It’s a gripping, sobering tale that leaves one grappling with the complicated question: When something wonderful comes from something terrible, is it worth it?

Read the story here, then listen to my interview with Tim Keown below: