iOS app Android app More

Rocky Clark Dead: Paralyzed Chicago-Area Athlete Dies After 11-Year Fight

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

01/ 6/12 09:10 AM ET   AP

ROBBINS, Ill. — A former suburban Chicago high school football player who was paralyzed from the neck down when he was tackled during a game in 2000 has died.

Ingalls Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Susan Fine says Rasul "Rocky" Clark died Thursday evening. Clark's pastor, the Rev. Anthony Williams of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Robbins, tells the Chicago Sun-Times the 27-year-old was surrounded by family members when he died.

Clark was a junior running back for the Eisenhower High School in Blue Island when his head hit the ground in a tackle during a game against Oak Forest High School.

Clark's neck was broken in two places and he was hospitalized for nine months.

Nonetheless, he graduated high school. Robbins says he had "a will and a spirit beyond human words."

FOLLOW HUFFPOST CHICAGO

Filed by Jen Sabella  |