14 Stories of Overcoming the Odds
They survived hijackings, plane crashes and deadly diseases. Look back at their unforgettable stories.
NFL Player Isaiah Kacyvenski
In 2007, NFL player Isaiah Kacyvenski
shared his story of beating the odds with Oprah. Growing up in poverty, Isaiah knew that college and football would be his ticket out. By his senior year in high school, he was an honor student and captain of the football team, but tragedy soon struck. On the morning of a big playoff game, he awoke to the news that this mother had been struck and killed by a truck. Isaiah says he didn't want to sit at home "wallowing in sorrow," so he decided to play in the big game. He went on to play one of the best games of his life.
Isaiah says it was his mother's spirit that drove him to achieve his dreams: He graduated from Harvard with honors and led his team to their first Ivy League title in nearly a decade. After college, he fulfilled his childhood dream of playing in the NFL.