Student-athletes Fields and Veerhees Celebrate Graduate Degree Achievements

Brian Howard | University Communications

Grambling, La. – December 15, 2021 – Grambling State University football defensive back Danquarian Fields and women’s soccer goalkeeper Britt Veerhees battled adversity but both celebrated milestone achievements during the Fall 2021 Commencement today at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.


Fields overcame a leg injury against Louisiana Tech during the 2019 football season and returned to action this past season. Veerhees battled a knee injury that saw her miss the first 11 games of the 2021 season before returning to help guide the Lady Tigers to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Soccer Tournament championship game.

Neither Fields nor Veerhees could have predicted their paths crossing and ending on the graduation stage during Wednesday’s commencement.

Fields, who is a native of Arcadia, Louisiana, suffered a gruesome injury to his right lower leg on Sept. 7, 2019. He was transported to Northern Louisiana Medical Center in Ruston but was airlifted to Shreveport for emergency surgery.

On a tackle in the first quarter at Louisiana Tech, Fields and two other teammates converged to tackle a Bulldog player. Fields’ right leg gave way, dislocating his kneecap and leg. The way his leg was contorted, the dislocation damaged the main artery, putting not only his career but also his lower leg in jeopardy.

After hours of surgery, the doctors were able to re-establish a pulse and save Fields’ leg while also rescuing from debilitating dread.

“I really thank God for even letting me have my leg. I really don’t know what I would have done,” Fields said. “I wasn’t thinking about football when I heard (that I might lose my leg). I was just hoping I’d have another chance to have the leg. I just wanted to be stable and have a leg.”

Fields not only recovered from that day but also continued to push forward and eventually back onto the football field. He represented Grambling State at the annual football press conference in July and was voted a team captain prior to the 2021 season.

In his only game, Fields came through with a critical interception and return against Alabama A&M as Grambling State held on for a 37-28 victory.

“I have enjoyed my time at Grambling,” Fields said. “What I will take away is how much I had to battle through adversity time and time again. Today is extremely special and words cannot describe how I truly feel.”

Fields walked across the stage on Friday with a Master of Science in Kinesiology.


Britt Veerhees earned a Masters of Science Degree in Public Administration and spent two years as a student at Grambling State. Wednesday’s ceremony marked a celebration for Veerhees with her family making the trip from the Netherlands.

“It was very special to have them make the trip to see me graduate,” Veerhees said. “I didn’t expect the borders to open in time for graduation, so when they opened, we immediately started to plan a trip. We just came back from New York City and the Grand Canyon. I also had the opportunity to show them around the Grambling community, a place where I have lived for the past year and a half.”

Veerhees said that her parents Monique and Henik, along with brother Dirk, had only seen photos and videos of Grambling prior to attending the graduation festivities.

The path to arriving in Grambling for Veerhees started nearly two years ago and almost didn’t happen.

The Stramproy, Netherlands native arrived on campus right before the COVID pandemic and also faced the challenge of playing her first soccer season in the spring.

“When arrived it was right before the pandemic hit and we didn’t have a fall season,” she said. “We lost our previous soccer coach (Justin Wager) before the start of the season and our current coach (Craig Roberts) arrived just in time for our new season to begin.”

During her junior season, Veerhees established herself as one of the top goalkeepers in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). She played 11 games as the goalkeeper for the Lady Tigers where she logged 870 minutes and registered 0.83 goals-against average. In addition, she posted a 7-1-2 record, with four shutouts in helping lead Grambling State as SWAC Women’s Soccer Tournament runner-ups.

In her final season, Veerhees recorded 721 minutes in goal and went 6-1-1 with a 0.50 goals-against average. She also recorded a pair of shutouts.

While Veerhees just walked across the stage during Friday’s commencement, she said her aspiration was to work in public administration.

However, before she decides to put that degree to work, Veerhees said she would look for opportunities at the professional level.

“I have plans to go back to my club team, RKSV Bekkerveld, and play with them when I return to the Netherlands,” she said. “I appreciate my time at Grambling State and hope that I can continue playing soccer, whether it is at the semi-pro or professional level.”