Texas Wesleyan University

Now that’s impressive.

Meghan Overdeep
October 9, 2017

Before this summer, the last time Jason Spangler played football was in the seventh grade at Bedford Junior High School. Now, at the age of 50, Spangler is suiting up for Texas Wesleyan Rams football team.

“I had an epiphany,” Spangler told CBS DFW, “and decided that things had to change.”

When Spangler, a Bedford, Texas native, learned that TWU was resurrecting its football team after a 76-year hiatus this fall, he sent an email to Rams football coach Joe Prud’homme. “I said, ‘I am a 49-year-old very athletic man. I’d like to try out for your team,’ and I said ‘when you’re done laughing, you can respond,’” Spangler recalled to CBS.

Surprisingly, Prud’homme gave him a shot.

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Spangler, a former All-American gymnast, owns his own roofing company. Before that, the father of three worked as a helicopter pilot for the military.

Overall he believes he’s had a pretty good run, but he says the recent deaths of two friends got him thinking. “I had two friends die last year from cancer, in their early 40s, and they weren’t able to live their full potential out,” he told to CBS. “I want to prove to people my age that are just existing in life–going to work, coming home, going to work, coming home–my message to them is you can do something greater.”

So the 50-year-old liberal arts major stocked up on Advil and joined the new team as a defensive lineman. During practice Spangler proved himself physically—at one point bench-pressing 315lbs.—and earned the love of his younger teammates. "Oh man, he's so cool," freshman defensive end Dylan Briscoe told Fort Worth Business Press. "We all look up to him so much."

Though he’s yet to start a game, or even play a down, Spangler, who’s currently nursing a broken rib, remains hopeful he’ll get his time on the field. But even from the bench he’s an inspiration to everyone around him.

"Anybody who would do what he's doing at that age, you have to admire him," Prud'homme told Fort Worth Business Press. "The kids look up to him, and that's a great thing. They realize if he can do it, they can too.

"He asked for an opportunity,” Prud'homme continued. “Anybody willing to do that, you have to give him a chance."