ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Ginger Richardson has been with the Round Rock Express since the team’s inception in 2000. She’s seen and worked with a lot of other ambassadors, but her relationship with Jay Favors is a fun one.

“I enjoy his companionship,” said Richardson. “I enjoy seeing him have fun. And I enjoy seeing him help other people have fun.”

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“That’s my partner in crime, I like to say,” said Favors about Richardson. “We do everything together … when the fans come in we greet everyone.”

Favors is a graduate of Stony Point High School where he played football. On the shorter side, Favors liked a challenge and didn’t back down on the gridiron.

The one fear Favors had playing was breaking his neck. Having read a book in eighth grade on Eric LeGrand, a Rutgers football player who was paralyzed from a football injury, Favors said he that thought was in the back of his mind.

“My sophomore year, there was just something about it,” said Favors. “Something didn’t feel right.”

Favors is referencing a game where he was in on a kickoff. He still remembers well a play that changed his life.

“I went in full speed at a bad angle. Me and the guy collided heads. He got up and I didn’t.”

Jay Favors and Ginger Richardson at the gate of Dell Diamond.

Recalling the story, Favors says he instantly knew he was paralyzed. He felt as if the world was taken from him.

Upon graduating in 2018, Favors was taking classes at Austin Community College. An accident totaled the wheelchair-accessible van that Jay’s family used. He had to stop going to school with no way of getting there.

“I was stuck in the house,” he said. “I had no contact with people or anything. I almost gave up on myself.”

There were major low moments for Favors, but the Express gave him a lift in February 2022 when the Nolan Ryan Foundation and the organization teamed up to give Favors a new van.

“[It] changed my life. It got me out of that depression…hopefully get back in school once my schedule is a lot more clear. It gave me freedom again.”

Not only did the club get him a new van, the team also offered Jay a new job. Being an ambassador for the Express has given the one-time Express fan a renewed sense of purpose.

“I was like 5’6″ and thought I was like 6’4″. That’s the type of confidence I had. I feel like I’m back to that Jay … it let me know that I can accomplish anything.”

With a story of perseverance and grit, Jay has a message for anyone going through tough moments of their own.

“Times are going to get tough in life. There’s going to be ups and downs. There’s no way around it. Go hard. Go straightforward with it. If a problem comes your way don’t shy away from it.”