We probably all find it extremely difficult to escape harsh memories about the turning points in our lives where things changes forever. As spinal cord injury lawyers, we know that it is even harder to avoid emotional trauma and mental suffering when the pain manifests itself as something real in your body. Such is life with paralysis for Marc Buoniconti, as well as Henry Mull.
Both men can never forget their spinal cord injuries decades ago because their spinal cord injuries will not let them forget.
The first man we discussed, now 43-years-old having overcome much of his paralysis, continues to feel the hit that his teammate dealt him thirty years ago. His cervical discs still radiate in his spinal cord with excruciating pain, making it impossible for him to turn his head left or right, up or down. The man went through a series of triumphs and tragedies after breaking his neck for the first time. Football was out, but he was still considered a hero after he saved a child from a burning apartment building his senior year of high school. That moment was overshadowed when his sister experienced a wrongful death in a tragic car accident a month before his graduation.
The man gave college a shot, but he eventually took up odd jobs as a pool boy and drove an armored vehicle before eventually breaking his neck a second time in a 1993 truck accident. He had to undergo another spinal fusion which left him dizzy and disoriented, feelings that still pop up every three to four months, usually accompanied by spinal headaches and back pain that is so vicious it makes him vomit for days on end. As Sports Illustrated remarked:
“[He] is mobile, but permanently disabled.”
This all seems like small potatoes compared to the other man’s situation, unable to move at all because of paralysis. When he was younger, the now completely paralyzed man used to follow his father to the Orange Bowl and watch the team practice. He’d fish with his brother and play football on the weekends. But as he grew up, trouble grew with him — fights with his mother, running away from home, and even going so far as committing acts of vandalism and drug use. Before his accident on the football field, the then-young man was living a crazy and often out of control lifestyle.
Now, his days are filled with paralysis treatment and trying to keep in good health. He has his daily routine of cleaning up and dressing, but his activities in life has been limited quite a bit. He still follows football and other sports, as well as travels all over, mainly to help raise awareness for his fund in an effort to raise money to support the outlook for recovery and find a cure for paralysis. His annual cost of living includes $500,000 for nursing, $60,000 for a customized van, and $24,000 for an electronic wheelchair. Luckily, he is covered under his father’s insurance policy. What would he do if that were not the case?
Despite their injuries and current physical disabilities, both individuals in this case are finding ways to make something out of themselves. They refuse to be defined by what they can’t do. The man who overcame paralysis eventually tried his hand again at college. This time, the schooling took well to him and eventually led him to a degree in English literature. He is currently working on a second degree in education, hoping that he can be a teacher in some of Tampa’s roughest neighborhoods.
As for the man with complete paralysis, he is too busy these days to worry about what his life could have been had he not slammed his helmet into the teammate’s lower back in 1985. With his paralysis treatments, fund raising campaigns, and public promotion of spinal cord injury awareness is the president of, as well as the face and voice of what you can do when you are living with paralysis — he rarely has time to sit back and feel sorry for himself.
These two men are much too busy living their lives.
If you or a loved one have suffering a spinal cord injury, we urge you to contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible following the accident at 1-858-551-2090 or please click here for a free consultation with an experienced paralysis attorney. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay anything until we recover money on your behalf.
This is part four in a five part story.