FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A British athlete born with a developmental disorder is in the Pee Dee, trying to turn professional in American football.
The Carolina Havoc of the American Arena League have moved to the Florence Center after playing last year in Georgia. When the Havoc begin their season Friday, Cameron Craig will be ready to play and fulfill his lifelong dream of playing pro sports. American football, however, is very new to cameron craig.
The 23-year-old from Scotland first tried this version of football while in college in Southampton, England, in 2014.
“I went to play rugby, saw a few guys playing American football, thought I’d give it a go, put on the pads and the helmet, and just absolutely fell in love with the sport,” Craig said.
Craig was born six weeks premature and needed a blood transfusion in his mother’s womb to survive. He then developed dyspraxia, which is a disorder that hurts a person’s motor skills.
Craig says sports have helped him fight through the condition.
“It’s something that you live with, but I was very fortunate,” he said. “I had a great schooling system I went to with great parents and support. I had a lot of physiotherapy.”
Craig is an offensive lineman, which is a position where you need to be quick on your feet and in your head.
“It’s almost like an equation on the field,” said Craig. “You’re trying to work out the solution while being physical, so it’s my two favorite things.”
After graduating from college and attending tryout camps in the United Kingdom with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, Craig wanted to keep playing football. He took his game indoors and eventually tried out for the Havoc.
Craig found out he made the final roster late Sunday, but was prepared for the worst and ready to return home.
“It was about 11 o’clock at night,” Craig said. “I went up to the head coach. I just knocked on his door. Obviously, you worry. Everything’s going through your head. Have I got a flight the next day? Have I not? I had a flight booked and to be offered to stay here is just fantastic,” Craig said.
Havoc head coach Anson Yarborough says he’s happy Craig didn’t need to take that flight.
“I love him,” Yarborough said. “He’s a great kid. He caught on to game, the speed, the physicality of it really quick.”
Craig says he enjoys living in Florence as he begins pursuing his dreams as a pro.
“The CFL, the (Arena Football League), the NFL, I’d love any of these opportunities,” he said. “They all look fantastic, but for me, right now, I need to learn to work hard.”
The Havoc open their first season in the Florence Center on Friday. They’ll take on the Cape Fear Heroes.
Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m.