Skip to Content

Former Ole Miss gridiron standout KD Hill found purpose after life-altering accident

  • Magnolia Tribune’s Parrish Alford sat down with KD Hill. Hill, a former Ole Miss football great, had his life forever changed by a harrowing traffic accident that took away his dream of playing in the NFL, but gave him new purpose in life.

Ka’Darian Hill, best known as KD, sat behind the wheel of his truck.

Where else was he going to go? He was pinned there after sliding off a rain-slickened I-65 in North Alabama before colliding with trees on the side of the interstate.

So he sat, feeling the warmth of his blood as it left his body. It would take two transfusions before Hill, a former Ole Miss defensive tackle with NFL aspirations, would be removed and taken to a hospital.

Two transfusions saved his life, but not his leg.

But first things first. Hill had to be removed from the truck. It was no easy task, and survival was certainly not a given.

Hill remained in the truck for five hours. That’s five hours after the impact at 4:40 a.m. as he passed through – or sought to pass through – Cullman, Alabama last July.

He sat in the truck and watched the sunrise, his last sunrise with two legs.

Five Hours

“Not once did I cry the entire five hours I was trapped in that truck,” he says with no small measure of pride.

Source: KD Hill (After the amputation of his right leg following traffic accident).

Tears in and of themselves are not wrong, even for grown men or, in the case of KD Hill, extra grown at 6-foot-1, 310 pounds.

But tears in this instance would only have meant looking back, reflecting on the past, the potential of pro football which had existed just seconds before. Instead, Hill was looking ahead, mentally preparing himself for a new calling.

Not only did he cry “not once” in the truck.

“Not once did my faith waiver,” he said.

Now Hill’s faith is his new reality.

As he sat in the truck the testing of his faith began. It will last for the rest of his life. Hill, though, believes firmly in his new calling, and that is to share his faith, to share it as never before by telling people about his time in the truck.

It’s not only the time in the truck. It’s the time in the hospital, the surgery, the recovery. It’s the realization that a humid July morning wasn’t a bad dream, it really did happen, and it really did change things.

Hill had been a monster on the field. He’d received the Chucky Mullins Courage Award his senior season while terrorizing opposing offenses at Ole Miss while wearing the vaunted No. 38. He was drafted by the Orlando Guardians of the XFL, a spring pro league. He had been in NFL rookie minicamps with the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets.

“I just knew come August I was going to sign with an NFL team for preseason,” he said.

Source: Ole Miss Athletics

But football was the past tense now. In the truck, it became the first day of the rest of his life.

It’s a new life as a motivational speaker, a life that he embraces with the same passion he had when grabbing and grinding against offensive linemen from LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M.

Life is different, but KD Hill doesn’t want your sympathy. He wants your soul, wants it for Jesus.

“In Ephesians 2:10 it says we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do. Before July 21, which was already predestined in my mother’s womb, it was already circled on the map, God knew what he wanted me to do with my life. He had molded and prepared me for the things that lied ahead,” Hill said.

He didn’t know it on July 20, but what lied ahead for him was not battles in the trenches against NFL offensive lineman.

He’d seen teammates transition from SEC football to the game’s biggest stage. Why not him?

God had indeed prepared him for his new calling. He didn’t prepare this exercise science major in college classrooms.

Hill was prepared each week in Sunday School in Eufala, Alabama when he would stand with teachers nearby and speak to the congregation.

“I would speak about God. That’s where my speaking abilities come from,” he said.

For Hill, speaking was as much a gift as a spin move to shed a block and stuff the running back with a tackle for loss in the backfield.

Gifts still need refinement, and while there’s been no formal training, Hill had the opportunity to speak before media in interview settings as a college player. He learned to communicate his points while anticipating questions, some of them designed to put him on the defensive. Why did your team give up 39 points and 500 yards? Hill could share an answer.

Why does Jesus matter? Hill can share an answer again.

Sharing His Faith

“He prepares us, and because I put my faith in Him, and I’m working toward my purpose in life, I’m also reading the scripture and using it in my everyday life to help motivate others. God is moving upon me and letting the Spirit use me and lead me to talk. When I give my speeches, that’s God that is using me when I write those speeches. When I speak, His presence enters the room, and His anointing is shown over my life because I am a walking miracle,” Hill said.

Hill speaks at schools and churches, holding onto a pulpit or lectern or maybe his knee scooter.

Source: KD Hill (Sharing his testimony).

He speaks as much as he can, some weeks maybe four or five times.

Later this month he’ll speak to 400 Air Force men and women in Las Vegas.

He manages this demanding schedule with the help of friends and his mom. He’s not part of a speaker’s bureau where a text or phone call come with places, times and key contacts.

Having Hill speak to your group usually begins by reaching out to him on social media.

Embracing his new calling with both big arms doesn’t mean that change has come easily.

“My baby boy was five months old at the time. He just turned 1 on Feb. 1. I get tears in my eyes when he rubs where my leg was amputated,” Hill said.

Sometimes his son plays with Hill’s prosthetic like he would a toy.

“I’m just glad and grateful to be here with him, or he would never have known his father. He would have known the legacy I left but not me completely. God has given me the opportunity to be the father to him that I am and that I never had in my life,” he said.

So, when KD Hill thinks now about his time in the truck he thinks not about what was lost but what was gained.

He thinks of the state trooper who, he believes, had to compose himself before approaching the driver’s side door.

“He probably thought I was dead to be honest with you. He couldn’t see me because everything had collapsed on my leg. My side of the truck was in the tree.”

The trooper at first was trying to get information from Hill’s brother, but Hill’s brother was unable to speak.

“I said, ‘Officer, I’m over here. Can you come over here?’”

The officers responded by asking if Hill could reach outside the window and tap the side mirror. Hill tapped it three times.

Officer, I’m Here

Then he said, “Officer, hold my hand. Let’s pray.”

“I can only imagine the presence of God that he felt. The EMTs told my mom and me after the accident that they felt a presence on the scene that they couldn’t even describe. I knew because I put my trust in God in the unfamiliar of my life that God was going to do great things for me. I trusted Him when I was on my death bed. I could have died right there, but I trusted Him. I knew he wasn’t going to leave me nor forsake me,” Hill said.

Each day in his new life, one that now focuses on public speaking and how many opportunities Hill can find to share his story, Hill continues to claim that promise.

Each day he finds the strength to continue to trust.

“The moment you begin to believe everything that He tells us in the Bible, and the moment you begin to look at yourself the way God sees you and the way God sees the world, that is when you will be successful in life. He will take care of all your needs, and you won’t want for anything. He will have people wonder how you are able to do the things you do today.

“It’s because I’m living off the grace that God has given me.”