Kevin Mullin’s life changed forever October 6, 2003.
At 24, Mullin of Boca Raton was an athletic swimmer and scuba diver who landed a job at a pharmaceutical staffing company two months prior to that fateful day.
But everything changed when a trip to a Boca beach with his sister and niece ended in a near death experience and a diagnosis of Quadriplegia.
Mullin remembers that day as it were yesterday. He said he had the day off work because of a Jewish holiday and went to the beach off of Spanish River Boulevard and A1A.
“The first thing I did was jump in the water and go for a swim. The waves were about chest high. On my way back in, I caught a wave in. I wasn’t sure what I hit but the next thing I remember was being put in an ambulance,” he said.
He also recalls not being able to move his legs.
Mullin spent months recovering at Delray Medical Hospital. Heavily medicated and on a Ventilator, Mullin slipped in and out of consciousness and fought to stay alive for four months.
“The doctors gave me a 3 to 5 chance to live at that point. I realized that if I didn’t get off the ventilator and start fighting as much as I could, my lungs would stop functioning,” he said. “The good part was that I had my family, friends and community around for support.”
The bad part was after winning one battle; he had another to fight. He was diagnosed as a C5-C6 incomplete quadriplegic.
Rebuilding his body and mind
But Mullin didn’t let the diagnosis break his spirit. He immediately began re-building his body and mind. He moved to Utah for a Rehabilitation center. There, he began working out six days a week to strengthen his legs and maintain muscle mass. His attitude towards life was also strengthened.
“I had to prepare that every day would be harder than before the injury,” he said. “You have to have that mindset so you don’t give up.”
At 27, Mullin is currently 100 percent drug free and feeling healthier each day. He hopes to walk again soon. To further rehabilitation efforts, Mullin held a fundraiser this past week at the Wishing Well in Royal Palm Plaza in Boca Raton.
“I don’t put limitations on myself. There’s nothing I think I can’t do,” he said.
In fact, he’s already taken the medical community by surprise by pedaling on a stationary bicycle.
“I was told this was unheard of. I shocked the medical community with that,” Mullin said.
Still a swimmer
Despite the accident, Mullin said he still has a love for water and wants to scuba dive again.
“The first thing I did after I got out of the hospital was have my family bring me to the ocean. I wanted to get back. I can’t be away from the water too long or I go stir crazy,” he said.
“Actually, people thought I was crazy, but I don’t think the water did this to me. It just happened.”
Mullin also believes he will beat the odds.
“I definitely think that I will walk again,” he said. “Every day I fight for independence.”
For more information, contact www.kevinjmullin.com.
by Nicol Jenkins