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Standout: How tragedy transformed a football star's rise to glory

Steve Fegan sits with his art at Solano State Prison
Bryan Mazza
KALW / Uncuffed
Steve Fegan sits with his art at Solano State Prison.

This interview aired in the July 3, 2023 episode of Crosscurrents.

Have you ever felt that you were destined for success — if only a hurdle didn't get in your way?

That's what happened to Steve Fegan. He was destined for football greatness. He shared the field with hall of famer Lynn Swann and star quarterback Jesse Freitas, and played for the same San Mateo high school that would eventually produce Tom Brady. Fegan's brother played football too. It was practically in his blood.

Soon, the 49ers were scouting Fegan. But tragedy cut short his dreams before he could reach the NFL.

"I was about that close to being paralyzed," he says.

Fegan's life-changing hurdle resonated with Uncuffed producer Bryan Mazza. The two of them sat down at Solano State Prison to talk more about Fegan's journey as a sports standout — and how he's now channeling that same spirit through his art.

This piece was brought to you from the team at Uncuffed and edited by Sonia Paul, Kathy Novak and Andrew Stelzer, with sound design from Eric "Maserati-E" Abercrombie. Our work in prisons is supported by the California Arts Council, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and donations from listeners like you. The producers fact-check content to the best of their ability. Content is approved by an information officer.

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Learn more, sign up for Uncuffed news, and support the program at www.weareuncuffed.org 

Click the play button above to hear this interview.

From The Producers Of Uncuffed
An avid listener of radio, award winning podcaster, and published author, Bryan Mazza spends his time writing, teaching, and training service animals for those in need. A native of California, Mazza uses his experiences to help others and to shape his artistic perspective in his many endeavors in both radio and creative writing.
Stories from inside California prisons