(Photo courtesy of Colorado Athletics)

Within a few weeks of the shooting, I showed up for fall camp at the University of Colorado. For most other people, their lives were continuing on as normal, and my life was never going to be the same.

I saw people's faces moments before they died. You don't just witness that and then switch gears to football.

When I was on the field, I tried not to show emotion. I knew I was there to try and make plays and earn a spot on the team. It was when practice ended that my thoughts began to switch back to what happened that night.

The thing that my teammates and coaches didn't know, however, was that when practice ended and people left the facilities, I stayed. I slept at the CU locker room.

I knew I had a house somewhere, but I didn't know how to get there. I knew it was miles away, and I didn't know about the bus system, and the thought didn't occur to me to ask. My thoughts were so scattered about so many things, like replaying that night, that finding the location of my house was not on the forefront of my mind.

So I would sleep on the floor of our facilities for the last few weeks of fall camp. And that's when I hit rock bottom. For the second time I had the question swimming through my brain of what am I doing with my life? This time, however, the response was a lot different.

At that point I had almost no money, no scholarship, no established friends on the team, and no bed to sleep on. I had been numb to a lot of the feelings until that moment, and then the thought occurred to me: I abandoned all those other people who were still in the theater. People who lost their lives.

Why didn't I do something? I'm a big guy, and I'm looked to as this strong person. Why didn't I try to take the gun away? It was a fight or flight moment, and as the shots rang out I chose flight.

It was at that moment that I wished the bullet wouldn't have flown over my head that night, but would have just hit me instead.

I never got help from a counselor or a psychologist, but if you need help, please get it. We all go through times in our life where we can't make it on our own strength, and sometimes friends or doctors can help you get back on track.

I wish James Holmes would have gotten help.

He never gave a reason for what he did, so I tried to find out myself. I went through some dark stuff, like reading his journal, to try and figure out why it happened.

And really, at the end of the day, there's no way to explain what happened other than the devil. It's part of the fallen world.

It's ironic...James never showed any remorse or sorrow for what happened, and I felt like I was carrying all the weight of what happened that night.

Some people have unhealthy outlets to heal their wounds, or maybe hide them, like drugs or alcohol. For me, there was only one path to mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom. It was God. His path took me through that theater and sent me into this spiral, and it would be His path that would help me get out.

God had a plan to get me through that experience, and to honor my wish of living my life for Him. That night will always feel tragic to me, but what has transpired as a result is nothing short of beautiful. And miraculous.

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Thomas Hager