To those of you losing hope,
In my worst moments, I would ask myself, “Why me? Why did this happen to me?”
I was trying to be a good person. My faith was strong and I felt like I was on top of the world in every aspect. Why did my whole world just come crashing down?
I was a professional motocross rider, living out my dream of racing bikes. Life seemed perfect and I thought I was invincible.
I vividly remember practicing for the upcoming 2015 Supercross season. I was doing a jump and while airborne, my bike malfunctioned and turned off. It flipped and I fell, landing face-first on the ground.
I don’t remember anyone telling me I was paralyzed, but as soon as I gained consciousness I already knew. So, when I awoke my attitude was, “What do I have to do to beat this?”
I was certain I would find a way to get back to my old self.
My first low point came about a month after my accident. That’s when it really hit me that I would never ride my bike again. Motocross was my passion since age 5 and I struggled to come to terms with the fact that my life as a motocross rider was over.
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At that moment I thought, “What am I supposed to do with myself?”
My second low point happened about ten months after my accident when I realized I wasn’t getting better. I wasn’t gaining the movement back that I hoped I would. Instead, I needed to relearn how to live and do basic life activities: cook, make my bed and shower. There was an overwhelming feeling of defeat. I had thoughts of suicide, thinking I would rather die than to live my life in a wheelchair. This just wasn’t the life or future I envisioned.
Shortly after my second low point, I went out to California to one of the biggest spinal cord paralysis recovery centers in the world, called Project Walk. That’s where I met a therapist named Amanda. I thought she was gorgeous but I assumed I had no chance. Before meeting her, I tried to talk to a few women but no one was really interested. I assumed it was because I was a burden. Ultimately, I just thought no one would ever want to be with me.
However, Amanda and I ended up meeting up at a Halloween party. I got some liquid courage and told her I thought she was beautiful and I liked her. She tried giving me her phone number, but I was too intoxicated to take it.
She reached out to me the next day on Facebook and said, “Hey, last night we talked a lot and I wanted to give you my number, but I couldn’t. So here it is.”
We have been together ever since.
Amanda didn’t see the activities I couldn’t do. She thought of all the things I could do. She saw me for me and didn’t see the limitations or the boundaries that I put on myself. She took my fear of trying new things away and showed me that I was capable of a lot more than I anticipated. Amanda brought out the best in me.
Then one day right before Christmas we were at a friends house and the topic of pregnancy came up. While doctors told us it was unlikely I would be able to have children naturally, we decided to go get a pregnancy test. Sure enough, we were expecting. At first, we were scared and shocked. Then we realized, this is a miracle.
We decided to get married and we are now living in Ohio with our two-year-old son Rhett. If I would have never gotten hurt, I would have never met Amanda and we wouldn’t have our son. Seeing him grow and accomplish new tasks with my best friend by my side is an incredible experience.
I still think about walking all the time and I remain hopeful that one day that can happen. But my journey has taught me that the life you plan for yourself and the plan the big guy upstairs has for you is not the same.
So, if you are going through a low point or a tough time in your life, my advice is to just keep going, just keep moving forward.
After the accident, I thought there was no way I would ever be as happy as I had been as a motocross rider. While I have never again gotten that feeling that I got from dirt backs, through the love of my family I have gotten so much more.
So, when I think back to the question I asked myself, “Why did this happen to me?” All I have to do is look at my son and my wife, my life’s greatest blessings, and I can see the answer.
Just Keep pushing,