Quincy Roche of Giants didn’t let Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome stop him

Childhood can be a painful time in a boy’s life when he is viewed as different and subjected to mocking cruelty from classmates and peers.

When Tourette’s syndrome affects your nervous system and you can’t control the tics and the sounds you make that you’d rather not have, it can be a lonely, relentless, anxious time.

So let Quincy Roche, New York Giant, be an inspiration to everyone, NFL players or anyone, because he is a profile in courage and determination and perseverance, because he refused to let the hand he was dealt destroy his dreams , for conquering and triumphing, against all odds.

“And that’s what really taught me how to embrace it,” Roche told The Post. ‘In primary school you sometimes have vocal tics where you don’t really have control over what you say. In elementary school, you have kids who don’t really understand, so they joke about that. So that was tough.

“But what it taught me was that instead of being shy about it, you just have to embrace it. Tourette’s, once you have it, it’s not going anywhere, so you just have to embrace it.”

Roche credits football for embracing and befriending him, from New Town High School in Randallstown, Maryland, where he grew up a Ravens fan, to Temple to Miami (Fla.) to the Steelers who selected him in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft to the Giants signing him the day after he was released, to Derek Carr’s last-minute strip sack who sealed Sunday’s win over the Raiders.

Giants linebacker Quincy Roche (95) in training
Quincy Rochea
Bill Kostroun

“It may be cliche, but football has always helped me,” Roche told The Post, “because on the pitch you never really have a problem when you’re attached to things, when your mind is like occupied.

“You go through ups and downs with it. Sometimes it’s worse than others. But really breathing techniques, focusing on things. … My mother bought me wooden things to build, things like that. So I’ve tried countless things, and all the time you just get into a flow of learning what’s best for you.”

Roche is now on no medication for his Tourette. He was forced once.

“I had a tic with my arm, I’d do it with my arm, and I’d like to strain one of my ligaments in my shoulder,” he said. “That’s the only time I brought anything.”

He is the youngest of seven and Tourette’s did not blind him.

“I knew when I was really young because it runs in my family,” Roche said. “All my brothers have it. Some of my cousins ​​have it. My kids will probably have it – there’s no guarantee, but they probably will. But it runs in my family.”

You don’t just snap your fingers and the Tourette magically disappears.

“Sometimes in conference rooms, even quiet classrooms, when things are quiet I have a problem with it,” Roche said, “but like I said, I’ve had it all my life, so I know how to get on top of it.”

Coping with the loss of his brother Tommy, 17 years his senior, to kidney disease two years ago was and is another matter.

“That was tough on me and my family,” Roche said. “It was like losing someone so close to me for the first time. … I still play for him today. In my mind he is still with me. I think about him every day … but it’s a difficult one.”

He is always overlooked and undersized, an outsider six feet tall and 245 pounds who nevertheless had a knack for firing the quarterback and being a TFL monster. Roche, who has compared himself to Bucs’ stud pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, appears to have earned a base job for Lorenzo Carter. A high engine and high character can get you places.

“I’m just coming in every day, I’m trying to get better every day, I’m trying to be better today than yesterday. That’s really my main focus,” Roche said.

    New York Giants linebacker Quincy Roche #95, during practice
Quincy Roche has learned to control his arm tic, which appears when things are still around him.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

It’s no wonder why the Giants jumped when the Steelers let him go, and Roche is elated that they did.

“That’s one of the things that can happen in this business, there’s plenty of people who’ve been through that,” Roche said. “I wasn’t the first, I won’t be the last. But I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I have now, and I’m just trying to make the best of it.”

He has told his story before and does not shy away from it. He’s only 23. The best may be yet to come.

“I’m very proud of myself,” Roche said, “but I’m a person who always likes to look ahead. Sometimes that’s also my biggest weakness, that I want so much more for myself.”

And for all who endure what he did.

“My biggest advice is to embrace it,” Roche said. “It’s not a disadvantage, it’s an advantage. We’re ahead of (chuckles) what you might call ordinary people (laughs). Our Tourette’s are our advantage. And that’s the most important thing I would say to any kid going through this at a young age, instead of being shy, don’t shy away from it. embrace it.

“Be who you are.”

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