Antonio Dixon soars in the face of stuttering and other challenges
December 3, 2009
Carl Herder, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-F
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As if stuttering wasn't a great enough challenge, Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon grew up facing homelessness, dyslexia, illiteracy, and a father in prison. His story is an inspiration not just for those who stutter, but for anyone who faces seemingly impossible odds.Did you ever feel nervous starting a new school? Antonio attended over a dozen elementary schools. He stutters when he's nervous, so he constantly dealt with being the new kid who stutters. To this day, when Antonio stutters, he slaps himself in the chest or arm to get the words out (AIS does not recommend this technique). Antonio could have crumpled under the weight of so many burdens. Instead, he fought and persevered. After attending various elementary and middle schools, he attended one high school, where he flourished. He entered high school barely literate, but he learned to read and excelled in class and on the football field.He graduated, played for the University of Miami and then, after a brief stint with the Washington Redskins, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie free agent. He's played in 11 games this year. NFL scouts believe that with training, his size and speed could make him a dominant force in the league for years to come.You can read about Antonio Dixon's journey against overwhelming odds in this December 2008 story from The Palm Beach Post.photo: Ed Yourdon