You’re Still Here for a Reason

I love listening to your podcast, especially being a former SF guy myself. That’s right, I was a Security Forces member in the Air National Guard. Anyway I was also a police officer in NJ. and that’s where my Never Quit story begins. On a very routine day in August 2005, I was on patrol when I saw one of our local drug dealers walking around talking with people. A few months earlier he had been released from prison for armed robbery and numerous other offenses. I knew he recently had another warrant issued for his arrest. So I exited my patrol car and began approaching the group he was talking to when he immediately began running. He is 6’05 230 pounds and is known to carry a handgun or an affordable semi-automatic pistol available so I could not blindly just chase after him. I needed to be under control in case he spun around and tried to shoot at me. He eventually got to a fence and was trying to get over the top when I caught up to him. I grabbed him and pulled him back to the ground. We eventually got into a fight and I’m still not exactly sure how but during our altercation we both fell and I hit the back of my head on the curb. I was dazed but luckily so was he. I was on my back and he was laying across me. I’m not sure how long I laid there but all the sudden a voice told me “get up he may have a gun”. I immediately rolled him off me and handcuffed him. It turns out he was not armed but had about a dozen bags of crack on him. I looked for my radio to call in my location and somehow it was laying about 20 feet away.

Soon after there was a dozen police officers there assisting me. I immediately knew something was wrong with my brain but didn’t want to say anything. I was hoping I just got dinged. Soon after I was at the police station getting ready to start the required paperwork. When I tried to unlock my locker I kept missing the lock with the key. I had to use two hands to guide the key into the cylinder. Then I went upstairs to start the paperwork and I realized I couldn’t recall everything that just happened. The final straw was when someone noticed my bald had was slightly swollen and bleeding. I realized I had to go to the hospital and that was the last day I worked. The next day I had my first partial seizure and it only got more interesting from there. I stuttered when I talked, was constantly tired but could not sleep, my short term memory was non-existent, and I developed a really short temper. Such incidents are very common in construction site accidents as well. My Neurologist told me it would be six months before I would start to be back to normal and I needed to look for another career field. I told her I have always been a quick healer and I would be back in a few months.

Well the doctor was right and I was way off. I had to quit the police force and the military. I loved being in both. It’s now 14 years later and while I’m much better, I’m not the person I was prior to my injury. I had been injured on a motorcycle in Miami before, but this time it was all different. The emotional and psychological shit was much harder for me to overcome then the physical issues. Even though nothing can replace the loss of the victim, it is best to consult an experienced attorney who will help them in getting the personal injury claims and compensation for the injury caused. I lost everything. My job, military career, my wife(which turned out to be good) many friends and it was sometimes hard not to give in to the self-pity. But my kids and my new found faith got me through it. I have three kids who were between 8 and 2 when I was injured. I needed to be a father for them. And because of my faith  I realized I’m here for a reason. I had already cheated death a few times including narrowly missing being shot. I didn’t understand why I was still here and hoped I’m justifying still being alive. So I decided I would volunteer at a group called CASA that helps abused children. My injury also allowed me to never miss a birthday, holiday, school or athletic event for my children. I was also a Volunteer coach for football, basketball, soccer, and a library volunteer. All of that was only made possible because I was injured. I still haven’t fully embraced the new me but realize I have a lot to be grateful for. I hope my story makes sense and I appreciate your time. Really enjoy listening to your podcast!

Author: Carl