Groy Finding Peace On Field Since Father's Passing - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Groy Finding Peace On Field Since Father's Passing

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CHICAGO, Illinois (WKOW) -- Ryan Groy sets his fingers in place and lines up to hit the bag.

The former Badger offensive linemen works out in the Bears facilities for OTA's, just two hours away from his old stomping grounds of Camp Randall. 

After practice, Groy trots over, sweat dripping down his smiling face. He fondly remembers his days playing in Madison. He played in a record 54 games, gaining pre-season and season honors as a junior and senior. But what he remembers most, is having his family in attendance nearly every game. 

After his playing time at Wisconsin concluded, he went into the 2014 Draft but never heard his name called. Shortly afterward, he would find a home as an undrafted free agent with the Bears. He spent 10 weeks on the practice squad before injuries moved Groy up to the active roster. He would start the final three games of the 2014 season.

A year of crazy up and downs, Groy's first start on the field would be witnessed by his biggest fan - his father, Doug. 

Flash forward to February of 2015.  A big outdoors family, the Groy's love fishing, hunting and skiing, and headed out to Lake Tomahawk to get away from the city life. But little did they know, a family vacation to the lake would be tragically cut short.

While out on their snowmobile, Doug crashed into a tree and died from his injuries. He was 55-years-old.  

His death hit Ryan and his younger sister, Kassie, hard. 

"Something that, you know, took a little bit to get used to...but you have to find other resources to talk to and look for help," says Groy.

Like most athletes, Ryan turned to the football field for comfort.

"It's kind like one of the only things you can think about once you're out here...you know, trying to make him proud." 

Now every time he steps on the field, he has someone to play for.

Off the field, life has gone on for Ryan and his family. He's preparing for training camp at the end of the month and he will marry his longtime girlfriend. And even though his dad won't be physically there to see it, Groy knows his father is watching from above.

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