WASHINGTON — Dont’a Hightower’s voice wavered as he spoke into the microphone set on a long table in a senate meeting room on Capitol Hill.
“It’s been a year since she’s gotten diagnosed,” New England Patriots linebacker said.
He was speaking about his mother, who’s had diabetes for a year now. She raised Hightower and his sister on her own. A few moments earlier, he’d called her his “sword and his shield.”
“She’s doing great, she’s doing wonderful,” he continued, his voice starting to break again. “But to see the struggles, the things she’s going through — it hits home, and it hurts. And, you know, I want my mom to be around as long as possible.”
Hightower was flanked at the press conference’s table by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, Mike Golic, former NFL player and current host of ESPN’s talk show Mike and Mike, and several other advocates.
All of them, and over 30 other NFL players seated in the room, were there to announce the launch of Team Tackle, an initiative from the American Diabetes Association that aims to draw awareness…