Rise and Walk: The Trial & Triumph of Dennis Byrd by Dennis Byrd with Michael D’Orso (HarperCollins/Zondervan, 1993), 258 pages.
On November 29, 1992, Byrd, a 6’5”, 270-pound defensive lineman for the New York Jets, in an attempt to sack the Kansas City quarterback collided with his 280-pound teammate. The collision shattered Byrd’s neck and paralyzed him from the neck down. The book describes in graphic detail the physical and emotional devastation he experienced and the excruciating route to his goal of walking again. After his seven-hour surgery, he was told that he may never walk again. In a few months, he defied all predictions and reasonable hopes and began walking again.
Through this experience, he kept his faith in God, as he did throughout his life. He credits the role played by his wife, family, friends, doctors, therapists, the general public, his Jets teammates, the help and encouragement of Leon Hess the Jets owner. He gives credit to God’s love and miracles and human faith and love.
Byrd recounts his upbringing in poverty in Oklahoma and his love of football, his experience of playing for Tulsa University and the New York Jets.
His determination and discipline motivated and inspired me. For months, I experienced chronic pain and inability to walk due to issues with my lumbar spine and resulting sciatica pain. I experienced nothing so severe as Byrd, but after surgery, rehab and home health I am getting closer to my goal of walking.