The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Female LSU Athlete Takes on the Gridiron

By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club -Football.  It’s always been a man’s game, and it’s been that way for over a hundred years. But here at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, there’s one woman who hopes to take the field with the guys.

Mo Isom:  Hi, I’m Mo Isom.

Mo Isom wants to be a place kicker for one of the top college football programs in the country.

Mo:  17 months of two a days.  Tears and sweat and blood and all the above, and if I had stopped any sooner I would be kicking myself, pun fully intended.

Mo showed athletic ability at a young age.  At 12 she was training with 19 -year –old soccer players.  After she grew seven inches in one year her six-foot stature made her a force to contend with.

Mo:  I certainly understood the importance of hard work because yes, things kind of fell into my lap but I could only keep them there if I worked hard to maintain them.

By high school Mo was scouted by major universities and the National Women’s Soccer Team.  She was also modeling and that career was booming.  While her height made her a presence on the soccer field, with classmates she felt out of place.

Mo: I was a giant, I was the huge girl.  I had to bear those comments on a daily basis in high school and all I wanted was to fit.  And I developed an eating disorder that almost destroyed my life.

The only thing that kept Mo from starving herself was her passion for soccer.  She needed fuel to play.  So diet pills and supplements filled in for food.  Raised in a Christian home, Mo felt guilt over what she’d been doing.  By her senior year Mo had enough.

Mo:  I’m really empty, physically, emotionally, spiritually empty.  I went to the Lord in prayer about it and scripture tells us come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  And I just opened my heart back up to what I knew, to the Lord and immediately was filled with this courage to come clean with my mom, my dad, my family about what I had been doing.

Mo got counseling and regained her health.   When she arrived at LSU on a full scholarship, she had a record setting year and was hailed as one of the premiere rookie goalkeepers in the country.

Mo:  At the end of that freshman season I felt invincible, untouchable.  I thought if this is what it means to be a Christian, this is great.  Because it was raining down the blessing and successes and it was smooth sailing but you’re right, my life has been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

The moment the three police officers walked into the room my mom, sister and I were in and told us they had found my dad’s remains, the world froze.

On January 3rd, 2009, Mo’s father committed suicide.  He was one of her biggest supporters.  Mo and her family were crushed.

Mo: It didn’t make sense.  And I felt so betrayed by this God everybody tells me loves us so much and now my heart is broken and I didn’t feel anything and so I took off running.  I wanted nothing to do with God.

Mo became the party girl and pretended everything was fine.

Mo:  I had come to my breaking point, it had been almost a year since I lost my father. And I was exhausted, I was worn out.  And I remember I was driving home for Thanksgiving break. I just started yelling at God.  I was so mad.  I said, you know what, I don’t believe you love me the way you say you love me.  And I said, if you’re so real, prove it.

Mo: I don’t know how I lost control of my car. I flipped my car three times, wrapped it around a tree, just ripped the front and engine clean off, and I find myself hanging upside down in my seat belt in a ravine at 1:30 in the morning nobody around.  I woke up choking on my own blood. I was vomiting blood.

Mo had an encounter with god.

Mo: I mean I never felt more wrapped in the arms of the Holy Spirit.  I could feel God’s presence.  But I believe it was that moment that I accepted that God was real and His Son was real in my heart and I got it.

But the injuries landed her in the hospital.

Mo: I broke my neck, the ribs down the left side of my body, damaged my lungs, my liver and my face and most severely I had brain contusions and that left me with an unbelievable stutter.

Mo recovered after extensive rehabilitation and finished her four years on the women’s soccer team as the most decorated goalkeeper in the history of LSU.

Mo: I look back now, and without god’s hand on that recovery, I would have never been able to return to soccer. This football would have been impossible. 

Today, Mo is in graduate school and trains daily with 99 premiere athletes. But why?

Mo:  It was January 2011 and I don’t tell people this but God told me to build my platform for Him.

But Mo was unsure of how the football team would accept her trying out.

Mo:  I was greeted with nothing but open doors.

As the football season nears and the games begin, Mo will try to secure her role as a placekicker for the Tigers.  But whatever the outcome, she knows the one who has the playbook.

Mo:  God overwhelmed my heart. And it’s been this lifetime of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change a day of it because it’s provided me the opportunity to not only grow as a person but to shine the light and hope and joy to others through my experiences.

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