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From the sidelines, Clemson University football player Ramon "Ray Ray" McElrathbey seems like any other college athlete. He goes to his classes, practices with his team and lives in an off-campus apartment. So why is Ray Ray making headlines off the field?

In the fall of 2006, Ray Ray returned to campus with his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr in tow. Now, Ray Ray is raising his little brother while his mother continues to struggle with an addiction to crack cocaine...an addiction that began when Ray Ray was a child.

Ray Ray says he was just 6 years old when he saw his mother smoke crack for the first time. As the addiction took hold, his mother was no longer able to care for her children. Ray Ray and his siblings were split up and placed in foster homes.

A few years later, Ray Ray's life took an unexpected turn. Two Little League coaches took him in, and for the next eight years, he found a safe haven in their homes. As a high school student, he excelled at sports and received a full athletic scholarship to Clemson University.

Life seemed to be looking up, but after his freshman year, trouble with his family brought him to Atlanta. There he found his drug-addicted mother living in a rundown motel with three of his siblings, including Fahmarr.
FROM: Childhood Interrupted
Published on October 20, 2006


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