Javancy Jones plays on at Shrine, knowing mom listens back home
Former Jackson State linebacker Javancy Jones thinks of his mother all the time, but especially in those football moments where a minor injury might have once slowed him down.
"If I bump my toe or something, I can't sit here and complain about it," Jones said Wednesday at Shorecrest Prep after practice for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field. "It helps me out. My mother's in the hospital, can't even move right now, but every time I go, she's still smiling. No matter what adversity I hit, on this football field or off, I have to keep a smile on my face."
When Jones was a senior in high school, his mother Kristine was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica, a rare autoimmune disorder that affects only about 4,000 people nationally and attacks the optic nerve and spinal cord. Kristine was initially given three months to live, but has survived, despite losing her vision and becoming paralyzed from the neck down. She listens to her son's games regularly from her nursing home, as she will Saturday as the game is broadcast on NFL Network.
Jones chose Jackson State to stay close to home and his mother in Macon, Miss., and he had a special moment at homecoming this fall when the school surprised him, bringing his mother to the game in a wheelchair. As they were announced to the crowd, he bent over and put his head on her chest, holding her in unexpected joy.
"She's still hanging in there, and I'm blessed to have that," said Jones. "We still talk, we play, we sing, we have fun."