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Zac Etheridge partners with sports watch company to benefit charity

Zac Etheridge goes gazelle on a fumble recovery for a touchdown against Arkansas in 2010.

What time is it? If you ask Zac Etheridge, he’d tell you it’s time to “Keep Moving 4ward.” That mantra helped him overcome what should have been a career-ending injury in 2009 and return as a safety on the 2010 National Championship team. Etheridge is now taking his motivation and sharing it with wounded warriors through a custom Deuce Brand sports watch design. Naturally, the watch is orange, blue and white and also features his initials and the number 4.

“Every day I wake up, I try to be the best I can and live the right life to show people anything is possible if you keep the faith and work hard,” Etheridge said. “The ‘Keep Moving 4ward’ slogan was a daily reminder no matter what you’re going through, no matter the adversity, you have to keep going.”

When Etheridge was first approached about designing the watch, he knew he wanted a portion of the proceeds to benefit a charity. He chose A HERO, America’s Heroes Enjoying Recreation Outdoors (A HERO) Foundation, which helps provide meaningful experiences in the great outdoors to injured veterans from across the country.

“Those guys go through so much and risk their lives for us,” Etheridge said. “At any moment on the field, you can go down, but you can’t compare it to what they go through. When they get wounded, it’s often something they have to live with for the rest of their life. I respect everything those men and women do.”

Etheridge is no stranger to injury. Most Auburn fans remember the infamous head-on collision during the 2009 Auburn-Ole Miss game that left Zac lifeless left him temporarily paralyzed on the field. He wasn’t expected to play football again. He was told even walking would be a struggle.

“My whole life has been dealing with adversity and overcoming things,” Etheridge said. “People telling me I can’t and I won’t were my internal motivators.”

The hit left Etheridge with a cracked fifth vertebra and torn ligaments in his neck. For the next year, he rehabbed and worked with the intention of returning to Jordan-Hare. “I knew what that team had, and I didn’t want to watch from the sidelines,” he said. “I kept it in my head that I was going to come back. I just kept moving forward.”

“Football is something I’ve done all my life,” he said. “I’m a student of the game. It’s my passion.”

Etheridge believes anything is possible so long as people keep their eyes on the prize. That’s the motivation behind the Deuce Brand watch

“I want to motivate others,” he said. “Overcoming my obstacles is powerful, but being able to empower others to overcome theirs has given me purpose.”

The cost of the watch is $30. The watches are guaranteed to ship to customers by Christmas if ordered today.

Etheridge photo via.

Related: Auburn great Kendall Simmons is full-time diabetes advocate.

Victoria Cumbow is a 2008 Auburn graduate. She’s a Communications Specialist with HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville and a freelance journalist. Find her online at victoriacumbow.com  and follow her on Twitter @victoriacumbow.

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