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Football Player Brian MAG
Whatis it about the comic book super heroes that keeps kids mesmerized? Is it theirsuper powers, evil foes, or the chance that they just might meet their match? Butwhat if a super hero wasn't so powerful? What if he was an 18-year-old boy in awheelchair suffering from brain damage? Mine is.
I had never heard ofBrian until that day my brother came home from school. His eyes were bloodshotand his cheeks stained with tears.
"Chris, what's the matter?"my mother asked.
"You know my friend, Brian, who's on the footballteam? He collapsed during class today. I don't really know what happened. He justcollapsed and started shaking. They rushed him to the hospital in anambulance."
I sat in the kitchen watching my big brother melt into apuddle of tears in my mom's arms. I didn't really understand what had happened,but it must have been bad. My brother was a big tough football player; crying wasbad for his "reputation." My brother spent the rest of the day on thephone trying to figure out what had happened. My parents and I spent the rest ofthe day worrying.
We eventually found out that Brian suffered a kind ofstroke caused by an aneurysm. He was born with a heart problem, but it had goneundetected until now. In class that day, Brian collapsed, and began havingseizures. By the time he reached the hospital, he was unconscious. He remained ina coma for over three weeks. During that time, doctors did their best to prepareBrian's family for the inevitable: Brian might never wake up.
But, as inany comic book, the hero never loses, no matter how great the enemy, and Briandidn't either. Three weeks and four days later, he woke from his coma. It was amiracle beyond miracles, but Brian would never be the same again. Brian didn'tget enough oxygen to his brain during his seizures, and suffered severe braindamage. He lost control of his legs, and doctors informed his family that hewould never walk again.
Fast-forward one year to the last football game ofthe season. Their season had been thrilling. They were undefeated, and allbecause of the loyalty of their biggest fan, Brian. He was on the sidelines everygame, home or away, rain or shine. At this game, however, Brian was planning onbecoming more than a fan.
The game was amazing but ended in a crushingloss for my brother's team. The boys were all in tears, blinded by theirdisappointment. Little did they know that among them was a hero. Brian's dadpushed his wheelchair to the middle of the field where the team was gathered. Heplaced a walker in front of Brian and grabbed his arm.
"Brian, youare not going to get up out of that wheelchair," my mother said, disbeliefin her voice.
"Oh, yes he is," Brian's dadanswered.
Brian clung to his father's arm with one hand and his walkerwith the other. With a grunt of effort, he pulled himself up. He stood shakilyfor a moment, then grabbed the walker and began to walk. Each of Brian's formerteammates looked up to see Brian, the boy who should have died, the boy whoshould have been confined to his wheelchair, the boy who became a hero, walkingout on the field.
And suddenly, the football game wasforgotten.
So, maybe super heroes don't need powers to be super. Maybe,they don't even need the full use of their brain or legs. Maybe heroes just needmore guts and determination than anyone could imagine. Brian is my hero notbecause he saved the world from an evil villain, but because he saved himselffrom a life he never wanted.
Brian worked for a year learning to walk.Next fall, he will be returning to school and will graduate just like anyoneelse. Brian fought the toughest villain of all, death, and will live his life tothe fullest.
Brian taught me that nothing is impossible and that nohardship can keep you from achieving anything. He taught me that life isprecious. He taught me that anyone can be a super hero.