In those precious milliseconds, when my worst fears were realized, I lost not only ten coworkers, but my freedom, my future, and the use of much of my body. The blast had hurled me right through the roof. I flew over a two a story building over 300 feet through the sky, and then landed hard on a concrete parking lot on my head and shoulders. When the paramedics found me, my body was broken over at the chest like most people bend at the waist and blood and cerebral spinal fluid were oozing from my nose, ears and mouth.
Excruciating pain swept through me. It was the last thing – the only thing – that I remember from the moments before I lost consciousness. I woke up in the hospital to find out I was completely paralyzed from the chest down, confined to a wheelchair for life. I was face down in a hospital bed with massive internal and external injuries. My doctors told me there had been an explosion, and while I was injured, ten of my co-workers were dead. I wondered if they had been the lucky ones. My first reaction upon regaining consciousness was an overwhelming fear. I was almost completely immobile with all kinds of tubes and needles poking out of me, and every other second, piercing pain shot through my spine. When the doctors revealed to me that I was a paraplegic, I fell into a massive depression.
I had always been a very athletic person, and now I couldn’t even get out of bed by myself. I was stripped of my pride and personal dignity, paralyzed from the chest down and left alone to wallow in self-pity. Depression and self-doubt consumed me, dominating my thoughts and reducing me to a shell of my former self. I thought my life was over. It wasn’t only my arms and legs that had been rendered immobile, but I was also convinced that I had lost my positive, never-give-up spirit.
While I have rebounded from that dark day to accomplish unimaginable feats, like becoming a World Paralympic Champion & wheelchair athlete, I also derive great pleasure from helping others see the importance of making safety job one on the work site.
By becoming a world champion wheelchair athlete and in-demand motivational and safety speaker, my hope is to contribute to a world in which we all strive to use workplace safety strategies to help ensure that no one else will have to endure the pain and suffering that I did – and still do to this very day. Now I continue to overcome adversity and severe pain on a daily basis.
My goal is to bring my safety message to your group and to hit the Safety points that your organization needs to emphasize right on spot!
I receive messages like this from previous safety presentations I have given to corporations and businesses. My goal is to help you as you write your “Blueprint for Success” – in your organization, your community and your personal life.
When it comes to Safety becoming 1st on the job every day on every task I want everyone to WIN the GOLD! by GOING ACCIDENT FREE!