Paralyzed USM player gets ovation as he graduates

Published 3:07 am Sunday, December 12, 2010

A football player who’s partially paralyzed from a shooting last month has now graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Martez Smith, an interdisciplinary studies major, received his undergraduate degree Friday.

The audience gave him a standing ovation that lasted more than a minute.

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The 22-year-old is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. His father, James Smith, wheeled him onstage during the commencement ceremony at Reed Green Coliseum on the Hattiesburg campus.

Martez Smith said he feels blessed, and he wouldn’t have missed his graduation for anything.