10 years after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, Timothy Alexander stood up. A basic task for most, but it took the paralyzed football player incredible perseverance and prayer.
“I have a stand up chair…normally if they take the brake off I fall straight down,” he told ABC. “I was able to hold myself up for about 3 seconds.”
Alexander was also able to stand for a few more minutes while assisted.
It’s a drastic difference from a decade ago. Alexander once was the star player on his high school football team, and was confident he could get into any college he wanted.
“Before my injury I was ranked number eight in the state and I could have went anywhere,” Alexander said.
Then, in October of 2006, everything changed.
A Horrific Accident
Alexander was involved in a car accident in 2006, after his friend fell asleep at the wheel and drove off a cliff. At the time, he was holding a baby in his lap.
“I punched the window out, I threw the 2-year-old baby out the window, before we went off the cliff. The car went all the way down, I became paralyzed instantly,” Alexander said. “My friend said ‘Is everyone okay?’ and I said, ‘No, I can’t feel my legs.'”
The brain injury he suffered originally paralyzed Alexander from the neck down. With time and therapy, he was able to conquer his upper body and gain control. But the mental struggles he faced were far more challenging.
“I couldn’t read, couldn’t write, couldn’t do anything. When I tried to talk to my Mom they put a marker in my mouth and tried to make me move my head,” Alexander said.
“When I first had my car wreck I had a lot of doctors and therapists that did give me a chance, but after my insurance ran out they said there was nothing they could do,”he said. “The first year I was very suicidal.”
But in 2008, after speaking with his bishop and his family, he chose a different path, and set himself a goal.
“I just started working out and praying. I had a dream of me playing football at UAB [University of Alabama at Birmingham],” he said.
When he began to work out at the gym at UAB for his physical therapy, he was quickly approached by the sports trainer and asked about his goals to play football. This dramatic turn of events led Alexander to become the first Paraplegic scholarship recipient for Division I Football, and he has served as a source of inspiration and encouragement for the team.
Breaking New Ground
Alexander cites his brother as his biggest inspiration to keep pressing forward. David Alexander passed away in a house fire on April 14th, 2006.
“The day before he passed, he said ‘I want you to go to the NFL and make a great name for yourself, to take care of the community and the family,’ and he said, ‘I love you,’ and that was the last words he said,” Alexander said.
With that goal still in mind, Alexander considers his ability to stand as just a milestone along the way. He wants to join the NFL, “not for money or fame, but to show that if you believe that all things are possible,” anyone can succeed.
Natalie Shannon told ABC how thrilled she was when she saw him able to stand. While everyone responds to treatment differently, Alexander stands out for his hardworking attitude.
“No is not an option for me. I believe I’m going to walk again,” he told a local station.
“We don’t need easy, we just need possible,” said Alexander. “I’m just going to try it everyday. I push myself to the limit, everyday. When I’m hurting, when I’m in pain, I’m going for it everyday.”
Watch Timothy Alexander stand below: