BY STEVE VIRGEN / JOURNAL ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
THURSDAY, AUGUST 25TH, 2022 AT 8:38PM
Tavian Combs smiled while he stood next to children with disabilities from the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation just before a recent University of New Mexico football practice.
With upbeat hip-hop music blaring from nearby speakers, Combs, who plays the “lobo” safety position, wanted to dance and encouraged his new friends to do the same.
While many looking on thought Combs provided the children with a meaningful experience, it was the kids who were bringing Combs much-needed peace and providing him with happiness rather than the pain and anger he felt during Christmas in Amarillo.
Combs’ older brother Taymarion Johnson was on a motorcycle and was struck by a car on Christmas Eve. Johnson, who at 20 was one year older than Combs, died on Christmas from the vehicular accident.
Combs has a name, image and likeness deal with Everguard Roofing, the Albuquerque company that helped connect him with the CTHF children. He said he gained a positive perspective on life from the kids.
“Not everybody gets to just wake up and just have a good day,” said Combs. “Seeing those kids really brings joy to your heart. Some days you can wake up in a bad mood, but then going out there and spending time with those kids really brightens your day.”