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‘I Honestly Wasn’t Supposed to Live’; How Almost Dying Strengthened Grand Prairie Man’s Faith

Corey Dooley was shot in a domestic violence incident in October 2013

Pushing through adversity is something Corey Dooley is used to.

He's preparing for his senior year at Concordia University in Chicago, where he's been a captain on the football team.

To say he's motivated to serve, would be an understatement.

"My drive just comes from getting a second chance at life," Corey said from his home in Grand Prairie. "I never really understood how important life was until it was almost taken away from me."

In October 2013, Corey and his mom were both shot at a family member's home in DeSoto in an act of domestic violence.

"I just remember having my seat reclined back and my vision turned red and I was just like, 'Man. Like, God, I don't want to die. I don't want to die. If you save me -- I'll give you my life -- whatever you want, you know I'll give it to you," Corey said.

When Corey was growing up, he said his mom made sure their faith was the rock of their family.

"I grew up in the church, but you know, I never really understood what it meant to have that big of faith until something traumatic like that happens in your life and you understand, you know? God is really with you through any situation," Corey said.

Especially during his hardest times, which came after he was injured.

"So I was 160 [pounds] originally my sophomore year [of high school] and then I woke up in the hospital and I was 97 pounds," Corey said.

During his physical recovery, he said he struggled with depression and anxiety.

"That first day in the weight room I really -- it really hit me that, man, like, I have to hit the reset button," Corey said. "I remember just going to class and crying and breaking down in front of my friends. I would say that is definitely a low point for me."

But he got through it. Today, his Bible is always left open to his life verse that keeps him going.

"Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised," Corey read.

In the game of life, facing death, taught Corey how to be a stronger player. He now uses God as a teammate who is a constant companion.

"But now I take God everywhere with me. I take Him with me to the classroom, I take Him with me at the office, at home, in my relationship. I really just try to reflect him in every area of my life," Corey said. "In everything that I do, whether it's lifting weights ... whether I'm on the field being a captain, just trying to reflect those qualities so people not only see me, but they see God in me."

He became spiritually stronger, but the shooting is still very much a part of him -- specifically the bullets that were lodged into his body.

"I actually still have one in my scapula -- my right shoulder. So, yeah. When you're going through the airport through the metal detectors they can like detect it sometimes or sometimes they'll detect like the fragments in my hip," Corey said.

He said going through those struggles helped build his spiritual endurance and grow his appreciation for the opportunity to live.

"I honestly wasn't supposed to live. They thought I died. I had actually flatlined," Corey said. "But just the fact that I'm standing here today, after learning how to walk again, after being told that I'd never play football again, is really just amazing."

Corey is majoring in political science and looking into law school, all while working two jobs -- one of which is being a mentor in an under-served community.

Corey is the son of NBC 5 employee CJ Johnson.

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