At 4:20 PM EST March 10, 1981 my life forever changed. I had bought my own airplane the day before and was anxious to check it out. At 2 PM I took off. As I watched the ground disappear below me, I felt free as an eagle. After a two-hour flight over the beautiful Chesapeake Bay I headed for home. My approach to the airport was going fine when suddenly my engine quit and I was too low to clear some power lines and crashed.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital four days later paralyzed only able to blink my eyes – once for yes – twice for no. I had broken and destroyed every bone, muscle, and nerve in my body. My neck was broken at the first and second cervical vertebra and my spinal cord was crushed. I was unable to eat or swallow – my larynx crushed – unable to speak – voice box destroyed – unable to breathe – diaphragm destroyed. My bowel, bladder, and kidneys did not function, and I could not use my hands or legs. The fact that I was still alive earned me the handle “The Miracle Man”
The doctors told me I would live less than a year – a vegetable hooked up to life support machines. But that’s not the picture I saw. There are times when we all are dealt hands that seem so unfair. We can either fold or play it out. See it doesn’t matter how many times you stumble and fall down. What really matters is how many times you stumble and get back up. Well to make a long story short on November 13, 1981 – eight months later – I walked out of the hospital on my own two feet. Three years later after hundreds of hours of intense – often extremely painful – occupational and physical therapy I was able to resume a normal life. As you come to know me through my books, movies, and CD programs I hope you will glean some of the lessons I’ve learned and use them to meet the challenges you will surely face.