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Joe Beene’s Inspiration: A Quadriplegic’s Story

Joe Beene (Photo courtesy Joe Beene)

It was 10 years ago, exactly, that Joe Beene’s world changed instantaneously. On Nov. 8, 2000, Joe was a 17-year-old, playing linebacker for his Permian High School football team in Odessa, Texas.

It was their final practice of the year before they were to meet their arch-rivals from across town, Odessa High School. Joe, a senior, made what seemed like a routine tackle. But the tackle was anything but routine. “I was tackling somebody, and my neck went back,” said Joe in a sort of matter-of-fact manner.

He remembers the time immediately after the tackle very well. “I stopped breathing. I was awake. I was wondering what was going on — you know, you can’t breathe.”

He knew something was wrong, but all he could do was lie there. “I couldn’t speak, but with my eyes I was saying, ‘Do something! Do something!’ I went without air for seven minutes. I should be dead or brain dead. But God kept me alive.”

Joe says he didn’t realize right away the seriousness of what had happened, “not until about three days later, after surgery. They fused C1 and C2 [vertebrae] together. I woke up after surgery and my dad told me what happened; I started crying — because I was thankful that God kept me alive and I wasn’t brain dead.”

What happened to Joe 10 years ago on that tackle left him paralyzed from the neck down. But what happened to Joe 10 years ago also turned his life on a path that led him closer to God and into a powerful relationship with Jesus. In the decade that’s gone by since his injury, he’s become an ordained minister, and he just got his degree this summer from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, where he majored in history and minored in business.

“It was amazing,” said Joe about the injury. “I should have died; I should have been brain dead.”

But he wasn’t. What overwhelmed Joe wasn’t the devastating injury, “it was that God had kept me alive for that long; maybe he had given me another chance at life. I started crying because I was thankful for that.”

Joe takes a larger view of the accident that left him a quadriplegic: “Everyone goes through hard things. It’s not like I’m an exception to the rule.”

We wanted to know — did he have strong faith before the injury? His answer was Continue reading “Joe Beene’s Inspiration: A Quadriplegic’s Story”