Not all football players fit into categories to which society sometimes tries to force them to conform. Everyone who hits the gridiron is not a “dumb jock.”

And people should not try to hold others back with silly stereotypes.

Proof lies in the form of John Urschel.

The former Baltimore Ravens guard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate spoke to an eager audience last week at Texas Lutheran University.

According to Urschel, if at least one teacher had her way, he would’ve been held back a year in school and possibly labeled, however unfairly, as a less-than-stellar student. But his mother had faith in him and his abilities and got him to be all he could be.

Eventually, Urschel turned away from football to explore a life in mathematics. During his recent lecture, Urschel spoke about teachers giving students added nudges to excel in math and other academic disciplines.

Just like coaches push athletes to strengthen their muscles for sports, teachers and parents can help students increase their mental skills for STEM subjects and beyond. Like with anything else, students can achieve lofty goals with the right encouragement.

It is up to everyone to take Urschel’s advice and help young people rush for academic excellence like we encourage some to rush the quarterback.

Our Voice is the opinion of the editorial board of the Seguin Gazette.

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