Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wreck Changes His Life; but Man Hopes to Walk One Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wreck Changes His Life; but Man Hopes to Walk One Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland, Staff writer

Todd Irish was enjoying a leisurely Saturday morning drive down Florida 209 when a car, sun glaring off its hood, careened toward his Ford pickup.

"I thought, man, this doesn't look good, but it still seemed like the car was a football field away," he said.

As Irish swerved to the side of the road, he was hit broadside. His truck flipped over four or five times and the roof caved in on his head. His spinal cord was bruised and his back broken, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

In the blink of an eye, his life turned upside down. The 39-year-old had a job he liked as a service technician at Mike Shad Ford on Blanding Boulevard. Much of his leisure time centered on the outdoors. He liked to jet ski, ride his Kawaski ZX12 to St. Augustine and his Honda scooter through the woods. Moreover, the divorced father enjoyed playing badminton and fishing with his two daughters, Macy, 9, and Logan, 5.

Now Irish, who moved from Green Cove Springs to his brother's house in Callahan, said he feels like an 85-year-old man struggling to get out of bed every morning and into his wheelchair.

"It puts a lot of stress on your upper body," he said. "It turns your arms into legs, and your arms were never meant to be your legs and your shoulders were never meant to be your hips."

To stimulate his muscles, Irish needs special equipment not covered by insurance. To raise the money, his brother Tim, with the help of Stan Gill of American Diecast Co., is sponsoring a benefit concert at noon Saturday and Sunday at Firehouse Tavern, 6781 Wilson Blvd.

Four local musical groups, including the Boogey Monsters and the George Aspinall Band, will perform. Wrestler Hulk Hogan has donated 10 autographed T-shirts for auction. NASCAR memorabilia, including an autographed Richard Petty tire, also will be auctioned. Admission is $15 for one day and $20 for two.

The goal is to buy a bike to electrically stimulate his muscles and a standing frame. …

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