Thirty-four-year-old Arizona resident Brandon Berry will never forget the day that he had a seizure, passed out in the stands along the third-base line at a baseball game and woke up to find Tim Tebow praying over him.
A couple of hours earlier on Oct. 11, 2016, Berry, who had suffered from epileptic seizures that kept him from being able to drive since 2013, had rededicated his life to Christ. The decision came after he met a man who was talking about God to a reporter in the stands at the Arizona Fall League contest.
“I introduced myself to him and we got to talking and I just told him that I felt like I was saved before but I was losing my faith in God. I felt like God was punishing me and I didn’t know if He took away my salvation because of all this stuff that was happening to me with my epilepsy,” he said.
“He told me that God loves me. We went over Scripture and we prayed and I rededicated my life in the stands that day. A couple of hours later, I started feeling ill and getting a metal taste in my mouth right there on the third baseline. I tried my best to get on the ground or somewhere where I would be safe. The seizure happened and blacked out. I woke up to Tim praying over me.”
The encounter made mainstream news headlines as it was Tebow’s first game with the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Christian athlete shocked the world earlier that year by announcing his intent to play minor league baseball after playing professional football and winning a Heisman Trophy as a two-time champion at the University of Florida.
Just shy of four years later, Berry is praising God now that he is two years seizure-free, can drive again, owns a car and is beginning classes to become an EEG technician.
Since the day he rededicated his life to Christ, Berry said things in his life have “changed dramatically.”
“I started going to church more. I started being more involved,” he said,
After moving to Buckeye, Arizona, about 15 miles west of Glendale, some three years ago, Berry got connected with a church plant called the Edge Church.
“I was teaching Sunday school and was involved with all different types of stuff in the community with Edge Church that I never thought I would ever do,” he said. “Unfortunately because of COVID, the church closed down permanently.”
After the church closed down in May, Berry said he went back to the church that he grew up in, First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in Avondale.
“That is where I was saved,” he said. “When I was having my problems in the spring of 2013, I was having a bad time — addicted to alcohol and gambling. It helped me overcome all that and get saved there.”
“It wasn’t easy because I was trying to fill a void in my life because I felt like a failure because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do in life,” he added. “I was coming out of high school and I wanted to go into professional wrestling. But I had a mild traumatic brain injury in the pool when I was 17. That ended that. I was just going from job to job trying to find my place in life. When I was able to start drinking, that just took over my life. But from 2010 to 2013, it just got worse.”
Berry said he knew he needed a change in his life and started going back to church.
“When I started having epilepsy, I was just really depressed. There was a moment in my life where the seizures were just really painful to me. When I lost one of my best friends, I just got really depressed. I had a seizure at a funeral for a friend’s son that passed away and I felt really embarrassed. And at that time, I wanted to end my life.”
“Luckily I got an image of my mom having to bury me. This article of this woman popped up saying that she was eight years seizure-free,” he explained. “That just gave me hope that I didn’t need to end my life.”
Berry said that he researched changes to habits he could make to get healthier.
“One of the things I looked at was medical marijuana but I didn’t try that because I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it,” he stated. “Then I looked at changing my eating habits and what I was drinking, sodas and stuff.
Berry got involved in some diet and fitness programs.
“Eating right and getting off sodas helped,” he said. “I was still having seizures but in July 2018, I was listening to a podcast [hosted by wrestler Chris Jericho] and he was talking about DDP Yoga and how it changed his life.”
DDP Yoga is a fitness program and company run by former professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, a three-time World Championship Wrestling heavyweight champion.
“When I was in North Carolina visiting my grandma, I had a seizure in the shower. I was tired of feeling hopeless and tired of having these seizures and prayed to God that they would just stop,” he recalled. “The next morning I started DDP Yoga. Ever since then I haven’t had a seizure.”
Berry said he does DDP Yoga once per day.
“There is so many different exercises in his program,” he said. “I stay in the intermittent, beginner mode because I can’t really do the high-intensity workouts. Mostly what I focus on with the exercise that really helps me is with the breathing part of it. It helps with my triggers, which is anxiety and stress.”
Without God, Berry doesn’t think it would be possible for him to be two years free of seizures.
“I think God is a big factor in all this,” he said. “I have been building a relationship with Him. My prayer life wasn’t that great. I just have been praying to Him and building that relationship has eased a lot of stuff in my life.”
Berry said he has been communicating with a pastor, Troy Wilkinson, who has been a great influence in his life.
“He’s helped guide me on what is biblical and what is not biblical,” he said. “I have never really had that kind of discipleship in my life and I am very grateful for that.”
“I used to watch a lot of the online preaching,” he added. “But I never really knew what was biblical and what wasn’t biblical and it was a lot of prosperity type gospel and I was basing a lot of my decisions on prosperity and not the Word of God.”
“He taught me that looking at Scripture is an important part of talking to God. That is something I never really knew.”
Berry developed more of a consistent Bible reading plan this year.
“That has helped me understand a little bit better,” he said. “Also going to Sunday school Bible teachings and stuff like that has also helped me because I never really had that.”
While some Christian scholars have condemned yoga because it incorporates meditative practices that “involve those traditional Buddhist and Hindu teachings,” Berry said that DDP removes a lot of the spirituality found in other yoga programs.
“I have never really had a problem with having that spirituality type stuff in there,” he said. “When he is doing it, I will put on some worship music or something like that to go along with it. While I am doing it, I am praying with God.”
Berry said that he is still in contact with Tebow and has heard from him a couple of times since the day they met.
“He just reaches out to say hi and see how I am doing,” he said.
Berry also attended the Tim Tebow Foundation Golf Tournament outside of Jacksonville in March 2018.