Saturday, December 06, 2008

Real Men of BAMFness: Richard Collier

I've lived a dream. It was short-lived, but I lived it. It's kind of gratifying for me to know that I made it, I survived. And I would have survived many years, I know that. It's something that I have my memories and I'll always have them. I have my friends, they're always there. - Richard Collier

The story of how a $7/hour produce stocker at a WalMart became an undrafted NFL lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars is remarkable. The story of that same NFL lineman getting shot 14 times, including a devastating bullet through his spinal cord, is tragic. But the real story of Richard Collier, told eloquently by ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill, is in the story of his survival. In three months since the accident, he has lost 80lbs. from his 6'7" 300lb.+ frame, some of it in the form of his left leg from just above the knee. He struggles to bench press 170lbs., something he probably could have done in his sleep before the accident. He is in a wheelchair because the bullet through his spinal cord has robbed him of his ability to walk. Doctors use the word "paralysis." Richard will not. He believes he will walk again. And so do I.

© Elizabeth Merrill, ESPN.com

RC, you are a BAMF.

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