VERONA (WKOW) -- Standing at 5-feet, 8-inches Carson Parks is small, but mighty.
The senior running back, a fighter not just on the field, but in life.
"It was hard for my mom and I, you know, we almost didn't really make it. We were both very sick," Carson said.
18 years ago in the summer of 1998, Andrea Parks was seven months pregnant with Carson, when her pregnancy took a turn for the worst.
"I ended up having him at 29 weeks. He was only two pounds, 11 ounces. I lost my vision," Andrea Parks said.
"It was very tough for me. I was pretty much on the outside looking in. I was worrying about two lives, not just one," Andrea's husband Dave Parks said.
But mother and son survived and after two months in the NICU, Carson was finally able to join his family at home.
As the years passed, Carson grew into a boy with big dreams, despite being undersized.
"Looking back to when I was little, I never thought that I was going to be anything," Carson said.
"Just really clumsy and we just both thought that sports wasn't going to be his thing," Andrea Parks said.
But carson remained persistent in his goals, which now included powerlifting.
By the time he was 13, Carson was a world record holder in the deadlift. Since then, he's captured three other national powerlifting records, but his desire to shine on the football field was met with hardship, playing his only season on varsity as a senior.
"It just wasn't a good feeling. Until my senior year, my first game," Carson said.
Carson put up 263 yards in the victory, scoring all four of the Wildcats touchdowns.
"That game was where he finally got his chance," Dave Parks said.
"It was amazing. He just let loose," Andrea Parks said.
"I've never been so happy I think in my life. Even thinking back to my powerlifting days, yeah it was great but no one was there to see it, just random people. I could prove myself and show everyone what I can do and what I was capable of before," Carson said.
Carson has graduated from Verona and is moving on to play Division II football at Northern Michigan this fall.