If you ask Sabrina Greenlee if she’s ever seen her son catch those ridiculous passes on Sundays in the NFL, she will tell you she hasn’t. She’s in the stands every Sunday but Greenlee has never watched her son, NFL All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins catch a single NFL pass.
That’s because a vicious attack when Hopkins was a child left his mother blind.
The abuse began in her childhood. “By the time I was 17, I had been put into the hospital three times. I remember attempting to take my senior pics at 18, and it didn’t happen because I had two black eyes and broken collarbone that day,” Greenlee told KHOU.
She had married and divorced her first abuser and had three more abusive relationships and four children after. When Hopkins was 12, the “other woman” threw a mixture of bleach and lye into his mother’s eyes in 2002.
“Within seconds, I realize my skin is coming off my face, my neck my back,” Greenlee said. “I was in a coma for 15 to 16 days. Totally blind when I woke up. Of course, that was terrifying.”
It became a point of adjustment for Greenlee and despite her blindness, she became involved in her children’s lives, putting them all through college. With DeAndre, she’s become a vocal proponent of domestic violence awareness. Hopkins made a startling revelation to a group of HISD kids last year when he told them the startling truth: his mother had never seen him play football or basketball since he was 12.
Her non-profit organization, SMOOTH exists to help victims of domestic abuse. Her top suggestions to other victims:
- Talk to someone. Ask for help
- Do not believe things will change on their own
- Plan your escape carefully. Do not run in the heat of the moment.
Here are other resources:
Domestic Violence Hotline: (713) 528-2121
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Houston Area Women’s Center