Whenever DeAndre Hopkins scores a touchdown for the Houston Texans, the wide receiver makes a handoff to a very special fan who always sits in the same seat in the end zone: his mother, Sabrina Greenlee.
Hopkins’ mother is blind and has never been able to see her son play professional football, but Greenlee is his biggest fan. When Hopkins’ tradition of handing his mother his touchdown balls went viral, a terrible tragedy came to light in the public eye and showed just how strong the bond is between mother and son.
Sabrina Greenlee suffered a horrific acid attack 17 years ago that left her permanently blind. The ritual of Hopkins handing off the ball to his mother in the end zone reminds him that even though Greenlee can no longer see, Hopkins sees her at every game and he wants the rest of the world to see his mother as well.
DeAndre Hopkins’ father died in a car accident when he was only a baby and Sabrina Greenlee was left to raise her children on her own, working two jobs to pay the bills. Greenlee became involved in abusive relationships, but one left a mark on her forever.
On July 20, 2002, a woman who was supposedly involved with the man Greenlee was dating at the time threw a bucket of lye and bleach into Greenlee’s face in a fit of jealous rage and left her to die at a gas station. Greenlee was left in a coma.
She survived, but lost 100% of the vision in her left eye and 40% of the vision in her right eye. She’s endured over 20 surgeries on her eyes and sadly lost all her vision a few years ago.
Greenlee decided to use this terrible incident to fight domestic violence and she started the non-profit organization S.M.O.O.T.H. The name of the organization stands for “Speaking Mentally, Outwardly Opening Opportunities Toward Healing.”
In an Instagram post, Hopkins wrote, “We gave each other courage. We have a bond that can’t be broken.” The proof is right there in all those end zone handoffs.
What a beautiful tradition! We hope they continue helping people with their message and program.