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Timothy Alexander determined to not just walk again but get back on the football field
I spent most of last year wondering who that guy in the wheel chair was that knows everyone on campus. Well, I finally had the pleasure of finding out for myself. His name is Timothy Alexander and he’s an undergraduate student here at UAB majoring in criminal justice and communication management. What a lot of people don’t know about Tim is that he’s a member of the UAB Blazer’s football team. Most people look at his wheel chair and imagine it’s a setback, but for him it’s no big deal.
Almost eight years ago, Timothy Alexander’s life was turned around completely when he was involved in a serious car wreck. It was October 28 when his friend fell asleep at the wheel. Tim, two other friends, and a friend’s young nephew were the passengers. The car smashed into a telephone pole and barely balanced on an incline for the next few minutes. Those next few minutes might have been the longest minutes of his life. During that time, Tim punched out the window and helped the child out the window. Then finally the car’s balance gave out and fell off the ledge. When the paramedics found Tim, they thought it was too late—He was going to be a vegetable from that point on. His neck was broken along with his back and he was paralyzed from his chest down as he coughed up blood. It was only a few minutes until his lungs gave out and collapsed causing the paramedics to give him a tracheotomy. He was rushed to the hospital, put in a medically induced coma, and had several surgeries.
To this day if you ask Tim about his wheelchair he’ll tell you, “I’m going to walk again any day now!” His faith is unbelievable. He fights his body every day to build the strength and walk again. His nerves are slowly growing back together and rebuilding themselves. He works out with the football team and goes to practice every day just like any other player you see out at Legion Field, but he also does special work outs every day to build the muscles in his legs back. The coaches and his friends spend time with him helping him stand on his own to learn to walk again as he had to relearn how to talk, dress, read, and even write.
Before his car wreck, Tim was ranked eighth in the state in high school football and had a promising football career ahead of him. His riding around on two wheels instead of two legs isn’t going to stop him from playing again. He called the UAB football department and gave them his story. He was welcomed to the Blazer family with open arms and will hopefully be our tight-end next year.
When I asked Tim how he stays so optimistic and hopeful through all of this he told me, “I’m not in this chair for me. I want to do it for everyone else to show people that you can do it– to show people that the sky is not the limit. People know about it but they don’t believe in themselves. It’s just understanding that if you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything.” He thinks about his brother at least once a day and aspires to make him proud, shinning down on him from Heaven.
A few years before the wreck, his family’s house caught on fire and his brother saved his life—like he saved the young child in the wreck. Two weeks before Tim’s wreck, his brother was also in a car wreck, and didn’t make it. His brother was and still is his hero so now Timothy strives to be a hero for others. Not only is he an active member of the Blazer’s football team, but he’s also very involved in his church. He was nominated for the Magic Moment’s Kid’s award and does motivational speaking. He works with the Kettering Foundation that works to help young adults with disabilities. Tim also does motivational speaking for the Alabama vocational rehabilitation studies. To Tim, the sky really isn’t the limit. This past weekend he will be representing our study body in the Mr. and Ms. UAB scholarship program. He made it to the top 5 finalist and couldn’t have been more excited to miss out on the half time talk with the rest of the team.
For Tim his accident has been anything, but a set back—more of a challenge he’s determined to overcome.