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Durham senior finding new identity on a different type of team

Posted February 5
Updated February 6

— On National Signing Day, when high school football players across the country commit to the college team of their choice, Doug Satterfield signed up for a different type of team.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Satterfield, a Southern High School senior, dreamed of this day. Dreamed of playing college football.

But concussions forced the 17-year-old to hang up his shoulder pads and helmet.

He was forced to the sidelines after the second game of the season. Southern later won its first state championship.

The injury also forced him to reexamine his identity.

“You lose football, the thing that you fought so hard for, being a leader and being a captain,” he said. “It’s like where do I fit, not only on the football team but in the community? How do people view me now as losing everything?”

On Wednesday, he sat alongside his teammates in the school gym.

They committed to college teams. N.C. State University. N.C. Central University. Shaw University.

Satterfield committed to the Marines.

“It fits his character,” said his coach, Darrius Robinson. “He’s just a true leader. He can take anybody and get them to follow him, and going into the Marines, going to the military, the armed forces, it’s perfect for him.”

Satterfield’s leadership skills were key in Southern’s state championship run, Robinson said.

“He was there every moment with us, to be able to be there to support us with our mission,” he said.

Joining the Marines was a simple decision for Satterfield.

“To me, there’s no other branch,” he said. “If you’re going to do it, you got to be the best.”

5 Comments

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  • barbado Feb 6, 12:25 p.m.

    Wait a minute! Am I missing something? This is a young man who has gotten a brain injury making him ineligible to play college football yet he's able to legitimately sign for the armed forces, let alone the marines? This is NOT a heartwarming story to me and leads me to further question WRAL's judgment as a news organization (which does some really good stories but generally follows the rest of the media with the dumbing-down trend of the past decade or so). Although it's wonderful when a young person can keep moving despite a setback in life, we can't cheer them on when their change in course places them in even greater jeopardy than the activity they were engaged in in the first place. As a health professional, I would counsel Doug to find something else besides military service--if he still has any choice--or to seek exemption through the military from any duties that place him at risk for further harm.

  • ecp1951 Feb 6, 11:56 a.m.

    nice choice but you'll need to remove the stone in your ear. good luck with your service career.

  • powerpuffjenn Feb 6, 10:14 a.m.

    Thank you Doug for serving. You are already a hero :)

  • commonsenseisn't Feb 6, 8:52 a.m.

    Congratulations Doug! It takes a real man to change directions and keep gong full speed ahead. Good luck to you.

  • sinew1 Feb 6, 8:47 a.m.

    Best of luck to you! Your leadership skills and integrity will serve you well. Thank you for your future military service to our country!!