“It’s a personal choice to be in a good mood or a bad mood, and I choose to be in a good mood.” – Brian Keefer
It’s been more than four years since Brian Keefer attempted a triple flip into a foam-filled pit at a Fairview Township gym and plunged head-first into the hard foundation underneath.
In that instant, he became a quadriplegic.
He thinks back to that day constantly, and to the life he led before. A life of athletics, constant motion, carefree days at the beach and few worries.
Thinking back is not depressing, though, he said. It’s motivating.
The 24-hour news cycle has affected all of us in different ways. For Jack Jablonski, I fear it has hijacked the time that could help him adjust to his new spinal-cord injury.
Eighteen years ago, as I put our sons on the bus for kindergarten, my husband, John, flipped off his bicycle and broke his neck at the fifth vertebrae. I was told of the permanent physical consequences of his spinal-cord injury.
John was given time to recover from surgery, to engage in physical therapy and to realize more gradually what having C5 quadriplegia would be like.
The wheels are in motion for Kirstie Fairhurst as she gears up for the 153km Round the Mountain bike ride next Saturday.
But when the 14-year-old lines up for the event, there will be one difference – she’ll be riding in style on a high-tech paraplegic bike.
New Plymouth Girls’ High School student Kirstie was involved in an accident when she was four years old, leaving her in a wheelchair, which dad Shorty said she had adapted to extremely well.
“Kirstie’s a great kid and she’s really inspirational to other kids at school because she’ll give absolutely anything a go,” he said.
Brian Keefer expects a lot of tears when he and his family watch the episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on Friday, accompanied by hundreds, if not thousands, of the volunteers who helped rebuild their house.
Keefer, 24, was paralyzed by a gymnastics accident in 2008. His upbeat attitude and close family caught the attention of the Extreme Makeover crew, who spent a week in June rebuilding the family home in Newberry Twp. to help Brian become as independent as possible and, perhaps, someday walk again.
Not even the Keefers have seen the episode yet, and they have not been allowed to invite outsiders into their home until the episode airs in order to keep the element of surprise.
Paralysis doesn’t stop former football athletes from raising money to make life a little easier for youngsters who suffer catastrophic spinal cord injuries
Only the start of a football game bothers Kenneth Jennings, who blows into a tube and turns his wheelchair away from the action. Once the kickoff’s over, his eyes are glued to the field.
It was while he was returning a kickoff for Simeon High as a lightning-quick junior in 1988 that he suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury and lost all use of his extremities below the neck.
Whatever anyone thinks of him or his situation, Josh Howard says, never call him a quitter.
Howard, 22, of Byhalia, Miss., has been paralyzed since crashing his sprint car at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway on Oct. 25.
Though still considered a quadriplegic, Howard said he continues to see improvement through a daily regimen of Physical Therapy.
“Every week I see improvement,” he said. “My arms are getting stronger. My fingers are twitching more, and we’re seeing more movement in my legs.
Tiffany Garner – Of the Suburban Journals/Belleville Journal
Matt Langenhorst’s life was changed forever in an instant on Feb. 8, 2001 when he and his wife Erika were in a car accident along Highway 94 in St. Charles, Mo.