Speaker* Creativity* Inspiration* Motivation

My accident happened when Jimmy Carter was in office, disco was ending and terrorists struck their first blow against the United States with the taking of the US embassy during the the Islamic evolution.

The date was November 30th 1979. I was a typical teenager, the night was young and my friends and I wanted to steal some beer from a freshman party. My brother was driving at the time, but we pulled over to see a friend. When
we got back into the car, another friend wanted to drive.

I went to school with Bob, who was a year ahead of me. I also played football with him at Morris Catholic High School in Denville, NJ. I had bummed rides off Bobby in the past. In fact, 30 days prior to my accident, I was in a fender-bender with him going to the bank for one of our coaches on our varsity football team, so I already knew he was a bad driver.

That night, Bob wanted to drive the rest of the way to our keg-stealing adventure, and my brother had handed over the keys over to him. All six of us entered the 1974 powdered Blue maverick - three in the front and three in the rear. I sat right behind the driver, my brother Danny in the passenger side, and my friend Arnold in between Bob (the driver) and my brother. Two others were sitting on my right in back, Tony and Keith. We started down the road, past the entrance of my high school, when Bob said "WATCH THIS" and put the accelerator to the floor. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor, unable to move.
The first thing I remember was a horrible sound. It was like a deep gurgling noise. A teenage girl was first on the scene. Tony and Keith were able to walk out of the car and the girl entered the back seat where I was. When she took my arm and raised it front of me, it felt (and looked) like it was not attached to my body. I couldn't feel a darn thing. I laid there paralyzed from the neck down. The first thing that came to my mind was "somebody better call my mother, I'm in big trouble."
Weeks later I found out what that horrible sound was. It was Arnold drowning in his own blood. He died of a pneumothorax ( numothorax ) which is a punctured lung. I will never forget that sound as long as I live.

I was injured just minutes from a local hospital and I stayed there for about five hours before being transferred to a major hospital in New York City. This is where I started my life as a quadriplegic.