Quadriplegic teacher returns to classroom after surfing accident

Published: June 8, 2016  |  Source: kltv.com  | Spinal Cord Injury:
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THIELLS, NY (News 12 Hudson Valley) – A history teacher in New York has returned to the classroom after a surfing accident left him a quadriplegic.

Some people say Bill Keenan had every excuse to curl up in a ball and be defined by his injury.

And that’s what could have happened to the Army veteran, athlete and musician after a surfing accident in 2013 left him a quadriplegic.

At that point, without the use of his arms or legs, Keenan could have given up. But he chose to get back in the game, and school officials went the extra mile to make it happen.

With the help of a teaching assistant and adaptive technology, he teaches a full day of classes at North Rockland High School.

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“To be around kids again. To be around 15- and 16-year-olds every single day, is just pure adventure for me,” Keenan said.

Now, Keenan is getting his students ready to take their global history regents exam. Except for Keenan’s wheelchair, the class appears like any other. But his students know there’s more going on here than learning about world history.

“I can relate to him because my sister is disabled, so I know what its like to have someone that doesn’t know how to control their body any more,” one student said.

And Keenan sees his difficulties as serving a larger purpose.

“Being a Christian and a Catholic, I have to believe that there’s a reason why I’m alive,” he said.

The school year at North Rockland High School ends in a few days but Keenan says he will be back in the fall.

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