Corey Sandberg has always been motivated and hard working. As a kid, growing up in Prescott Valley, Arizona, Corey started his own business building retaining walls. As an adult, Corey completed his service in the Army and walked onto the University of Idaho football team without any serious football experience.
Corey joined the Army in 2005. He served nearly six years, deploying to both Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, Corey was the squad leader for an airborne infantry brigade. He was seriously injured while transporting a prisoner in a helicopter. Two bullets, shards of helicopter, and other metal fragments were removed from his flesh. After Corey recovered from his injuries, he was determined to return to Afghanistan, wanting above all to remain with his team. In Iraq, Corey was in injured in two different accidents, sustaining brain injuries when his Humvee was blown up on both occasions. Corey was awarded the Purple Heart. (Wisneski, “Brothers’ football journey led to Idaho,” Prescott Valley Tribune)
When he returned home, Corey was determined to play college football. Back in 2009, Corey’s younger brother, Dallas, had gone on his official recruiting visit at University of Idaho. Corey had tagged along. During the visit, Idaho’s head coach at the time, Robb Akey, promised Corey a shot as a walk-on whenever he returned home. Corey and Dallas made a pact: Corey would enroll at Idaho to join his brother when he finished his tour in Afghanistan.
Once Corey made it home, he began to train, taking it upon himself to learn the game. Having never played, Corey joined a tackle football league to gain experience. Finally, in 2011, Corey enrolled at Idaho, a twenty-four year old freshman. Akey kept his promise, and Corey made the team as a walk-on. Both he and Dallas red-shirted their freshman year. When the 2012 season came around, Dallas started every game and Corey saw action on special teams.
Unfortunately, after the 2012 season, Corey stopped playing—his time in the military had taxed his body, and football wasn’t doing it any favors. He chose to focus on his academics. However, Corey continued to support his brother through the ups and downs of his football career, attending every game, sitting in the same seat where Dallas could always see him. The brothers always had each other, and Dallas could tell how important football had been to Corey:
“He’s got a lot of (post-traumatic stress disorder) issues, he’s seen a lot of bad crap over there and it [football] helped him adjust to normal life. The brotherhood here is the same brotherhood he had in the military, so he left that brotherhood and came to our brotherhood”
(qtd. in Kramer, The Spokesman-Review).
Corey graduated with a degree in Business and now works for Pinnacle, a Denver based real estate agency and advisor.