Tim Tebow – Overcoming Dyslexia


Tim TebowTim Tebow was Born in the Philippines to American missionary parents in 1987, Tim Tebow is an American football quarterback who has experienced great success and acclaim throughout his life. He has had such success despite odds which were stacked against him before even being born.

While in the Philippines, Tim’s mother Pamela became ill with amoebic dysentery and slipped into a coma. When she was still recovering, she discovered she was pregnant. Medications being used to treat her caused a severe placental abruption and doctors told her to abort the child, as a stillbirth was imminent.

Tim’s parents decided to continue with the pregnancy and let their faith lead the way. On August 14, 1987, Tim was born in Manila. He was healthy and without immediate signs of any problems.

Tim Tebow Discovers he has Dyslexia

It was in elementary school that Tim Tebow was diagnosed with dyslexia. Both his father and brother shared in the learning disability, as does Tim Tebow’s former NFL coach of the NY Jets, Rex Ryan.

Of his dyslexia, Tim says that coping with the learning disability becomes easier once you figure out how you learn best, as an individual. He credits discovering his own “best practices” with helping him manage learning throughout his life and as part of his career in the NFL.

“It has to do with finding out how you learn, and you really get it done quickly,” Tebow said.

The NFL star has credited using flashcards with helping him to learn plays and admits he takes a bit longer to grasp new plays than others might.

“I’m not somebody that opens a playbook and just turns and reads and reads. That doesn’t do it for me. So I just made flashcards, I take each one, and then boom, when I’m traveling, I just flip through it,” he explained.

Of his flashcard method, the legendary player says, “That really helped me. Writing it down, flipping through and quizzing myself, that was a great way for me to do it.”

Tim says that he is a kinesthetic learner, one who learns by doing.

Tebow goes on to explain how football was actually a natural fit for someone with dyslexia. He said, “So much in football is touching, feeling, walking through, writing it on boards, drawing Xs and Os, and all those are the best for me.”

Of his manner of learning and how he applied himself on the field, Tim’s NY Jets coach Rex Ryan said, “He finds a way to win. When you look at it, it might not be a traditional way, but all he does, he finds ways to win.”

Dyslexic himself, Coach Ryan was not diagnosed until he was in his 40s. Despite that diagnosis and not knowing for so long that he suffered from a learning disability, Ryan also managed to do well within a career in football. This is something the two share and will always have in common.

Despite Dyslexia, Tebow Found Success

Tim Tebow was the first college sophomore Heisman Trophy winner in 2007, after playing football for the University of Florida. He also appeared on BCS National Championship-winning teams from 2006 to 2008.

As part of the Florida Gators, Tim was the starting quarterback in 2007. He led the team to a 13-1 record in the following year. The Gators also won their second national championship in three years, with Tebow quarterbacking and named the offensive MVP for the 2008 winning game. The 13-1 record repeated in 2009 when Tebow was a senior. Tebow walked away from the Gators with multiple records and became a top pick for the subsequent NFL draft.

During the first round of the 2010 National Football League draft, Tebow was chosen by the Denver Broncos. He later played for the New York Jets, New England Patriots and very briefly for Philadelphia Eagles.

Throughout each part of his career for all of the teams, Tebow often learned plays by getting out onto the field and walking through them. He would ask other players, like receiver Raymond Webber, to run plays with him from time to time. This would help him master the concepts.

Coach Ryan credits Tim’s work to overcome dyslexia for his present problem-solving ability and competitive nature. He says that Tebow’s need to overcome his learning disability’s obstacles taught him how to “look through the right lens” for overcoming life’s challenges.

Of his and Coach Ryan’s successes in working through dyslexia and reaching the height of their career fields, Tebow says, “What it does is just show that learning disabilities, especially dyslexia, have nothing to do with how smart or intelligent someone is. It’s something to share with kids, that, ‘Hey, it is not a big deal.’ You can overcome it. You just figure out how you learn, and what’s right for you.”

Learn about Other Famous People With Dyslexia

Other Famous Dyslexics:


4 thoughts on “Tim Tebow – Overcoming Dyslexia

  1. I like Tim Tebow because he is a devoted hristian and overcomes dyslexia through many challenges. My son struggles every day with dyslexia what really breaks me is he has never gotten the opportunity to get student of the month and he has been aiming for a couple years although he is only 8yrs old I can see he has devoted and always giving his best…my boy does struggles with plays in flag football as well..but he enjoys the sport so much….

  2. I strongly suspect my 9 year old is strudging with this. I’m looking for help..he calls himself a dumb kid…his dad has the exact same challenges… 🙁 heartbreaking

  3. Now I understand !

    Thank you Tim for your incredible mission to the dis-“Ability” community with your Night to Shine event.
    My son had an absolute wonderful time as did his parents.
    God Bless you and your foundation


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