LOUISVILLE, Ky.—When Travis Freeman lost his eyesight in high school, his chances of playing football were destroyed. But his battle with adversity and illness birthed a ministry and the focus of a new movie. The film, “23 Blast,” based on Freeman’s journey after contracting bacterial meningitis, was released Oct. 24 in 600 theaters across the country.

“The movie isn’t the Travis Freeman story,” Freeman, a two-time Southern Seminary graduate, said. “It does a really good job capturing the spirit of my story. I want people to be encouraged whether by watching the movie, “23 Blast,” or reading the book, or following me on Twitter or hearing me speak.”

The movie chronicles Freeman as he went from a healthy teenager and football player to a hospital patient with an illness that left him blind in 1993. Freeman has also published the autobiography Lights Out, available online.

His story gained national attention as news outlets like USA Today, The New York Times, and NBC’s Today Show covered Freeman’s journey as a football player who lost his sight. But he didn’t expect Tonni Hoover, a family friend from Corbin, Ky., where Freeman grew up, to bring his story to movie theaters. Hoover and her son Bram, Freeman’s high school football teammate, co-wrote the screenplay for 23 Blast, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Freeman graduated from Southern Seminary in 2007 with a master of divinity degree and again in 2012 with a doctor of philosophy.

He said his time at Southern prepared him well for this season of life and ministry. He also believes his education equipped him to better serve others, as he established the Freeman Foundation, a parachurch ministry to train and educate people about disabilities. The foundation’s mission statement is to “inspire people to overcome the disabilities they face in their life.”

“The mission statement is to promote the truth that disability does not equal inability,” he said. “My education at Southern began to help me be able to articulate what I felt 21 years ago when I lost my sight.”

More information about Freeman, 23 Blast, or Lights Out is available at travisfreeman.org.