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After tragic loss, former BYU linebacker Brady Poppinga and family finding hope in their faith


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Beyond the Game Stories

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

IRVINE, Calif. — Brady Poppinga got to play linebacker for his dream school, BYU, before embarking on a long NFL career where he won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers and was a contender for others.

It was a dream for the Evanston, Wyoming, native who now calls Southern California home with his wife, Brooke, and children. Today, he owns his own fitness equipment company that keeps his life very busy.

But in August, his family's life changed forever when their 17-year-old son, Julius, died unexpectedly.

"It's challenging, you know, when you lose Julius and you have to deal with that loss," Brady Poppinga said. "It just creates a whole other element of, you could call it just pain and bitterness, and a lot of longing to want to be with them that has to mix in with your life, because life has to move forward."

"He was just a joyful human being — very compassionate," Brooke Poppinga said. "He always was, really, even from a very, very young age."

In the midst of their grief, and surrounded by memories, the Poppinga family say they rely on their faith, family and friends to help them get through day to day.

Through the tragedy, the Poppinga's say their family is closer than ever, relying on each other and their faith as they look toward the future while helping others who may be traveling the same difficult journey.

See the family's story in the video above.

Check out more Beyond The Game videos, such as how former Utes offensive lineman Garett Bolles is paying it forward to help troubled youth, how an 18-year-old golfer is working to get to the LPGA, or the PRCA bronc rider who defied odds and was back rodeoing again, among many more.

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