Friday, July 24, 2009


Steve Streater was a standout defensive back for the University of North Carolina. He was so good, he was signed as a free agent to play in the NFL by the Washington Redskins. That’s the good news.

The bad news was that Streater flew to Washington D.C. to sign his contract, and upon his return to Raleigh he was in an auto accident near the Raleigh-Durham airport. Streater, who was not wearing a seat belt, suffered a serious spinal injury that left him paralyzed.

Streater snagged five interceptions and averaged more than 43 yards per punt during his senior year, making him the first player in the history of the ACC to be named all-conference at two positions – DB and punter.

Off the field, Streater lived it up, persuading his teammates to wear their jerseys and hit the downtown nightspots. He started a fashion revolution among his fellow defensive backs to wear gloves.

Evidently, Streater was the same upbeat and positive guy after the accident as he was before –not complaining about his misfortune while concentrating on what he could accomplish which included going back to school and getting his degree in education.

Along the way, Streater worked in a dance studio and coached a semi-pro football team. He managed a auto detailing business, coordinated NC’s Students Against Driving Drunk program and he helped persuade legislators to pass a seat-belt law in North Carolina.

Before the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Streater carried the Olympic torch.

He died from complications related to his paralysis.

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