Milford’s Wilson hasn’t let illnesses stop him

SALISBURY, Md. — Octavion Wilson knows his life could have very easily ended by now.
The two serious illnesses that the former Milford High football player suffered were bad enough.
But there was also a time, when he was dealing with the stress the diseases brought, that he considered taking his own life.
Now a healthy 24-year-old, he realizes everything he would have missed.
“I would never do that,” Wilson said about suicide. “I know now it’s not worth it, because there’s great things around the corner — even in times like that.”
Wilson’s comeback story is a pretty remarkable one. That’s why he was voted the winner of this year’s Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award by the Delaware Sportswriters & Broadcasters Association.
Wilson, who was a record-breaking receiver for the Salisbury football team last fall, will be honored at the DSBA’s 71st annual luncheon on Feb. 17 in New Castle (tickets available at
After beginning his college career at NCAA Division III power Mount Union in Ohio, Wilson was first diagnosed with pericarditis — an inflammation of the lining around the heart.
Then, after he thought he was healthy again, Wilson was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy — a neuromuscular disease resulting from damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord.
It was only this past fall that Wilson was able to return to the field, this time at Salisbury. In the Sea Gulls’ run-oriented offense, Wilson had 23 catches for 398 yards with three touchdowns.
As a team, Salisbury reached the national playoff quarterfnals.
Wilson’s story has earned him national recognition, including the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year for Division III. He was honored on the field during the Fiesta Bowl national semifinal game.
The 6-foot, 212-pound Lincoln native hopes his football career isn’t over yet. Wilson has been working out in anticipation of taking part in a local NFL pro day.
However this works out, Wilson said he believes God spared his life for a reason.
“Going through two sicknesses and coming out of it and then doing what I did this year, I look at life as anything great can happen if you just put your mind to it,” said Wilson. “If you say, ‘Hey, this is not going to beat me, it literally won’t beat you if you don’t let it.’
“I refuse to let anything ever bring me down to a low point ever again.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or