One of the most accomplished athletes to emerge from Port Allen High School football program is facing what could be the biggest challenge of his life.
Andre Hal, who has played four years with the Houston Texans and started 38 games as a free safety, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Hal, 26, was a starter in all 16 games with the Texans, according to a press release from the team. He will go through testing at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
He graduated in 2010 from Port Allen High and has remained active with youth programs in West Baton Rouge Parish.
Port Allen coach Leonard Parker – who coached Hal in football, basketball, and track – believes his former player has the character and inner strength to prevail.
“There are two things about him: he’s strong and fast,” Parker said. “He’s a good student in the classroom as well, and as a coach, that’s what you look for.
“But what I believe has made him successful is his mother and how she made Christian values balance him,” he said. “When you look at that, you see that it’s spirituality that going to bring him through this. It’s not going to be a physical fight or an intellectual fight – it’s all spiritual, and he will succeed. The Lord is going to coach him to victory.”
Hal’s family has requested privacy, according to the press release from the Texans. He made the following statement:
“My faith in God and the support from my family, friends, teammates, and coaches will see me through this difficult time,” Hal said in a statement. “I will not let this diagnosis stop me from fulfilling my dreams, and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. I know how to beat this, and I will beat it.”
Coach Bill O’ Brien said in the press release that Hal has been a credit to the Texans during all four years on the team.
“Andre epitomizes what it means to be a Houston Texan through his leadership, community involvement, and team-first attitude,” he said. “The entire Texans organization is behind Andre and his family during this difficult time and we look forward to his eventual return to the team.”
Parker also believes Hal will once again don the Texans jersey.
“I know him, his family and I know his faith is what led him to the NFL,” he said. “He’s a strong believer in God, and that’s what’s going to make the difference here.”