Leap of Faith Stories to Live By:
Eight Survivor Athletes Piecing Together the Grace and Blessings of an Imperfect Life
Since the mid 1970s, eight, Chicago area high school athletes have suffered catastrophic, spinal cord injuries in hockey and football. With their bodies no longer capable of moving as it did once before, the nightmare is compounded by the polarizing response of others: even the most loyal of friends begin to slip away, anxious to move past the event, and get on with their own lives.
But for author Don Grossnickle, Ed.D., the effect is in reverse; he is drawn to their plight while others flee. As a minister, he discovers something remarkable about the durability of the human spirit, and the ability of that spirit to reinvent itself amid tremendous odds. Dubbing them the “eight broken neck boys of Illinois ,” Grossnickle immerses himself in the comeback world of short and long term comeback stories seeking to discover and share the secrets of being able to successfully tap into unbreakable resilience.
Unbreakable Resilience provides insight on what it is like to live inside an immobilized, disobedient body that is otherwise bound to an active mind, heart, spirit and soul. For most, living with a catastrophic, spinal cord injury is a fate worse than death. Each young man must rally on a daily basis to manage and lift his spirits. It’s this determination that captures Grossnickle’s attention.
As sports observers, we’re familiar with familiar the “comeback” story that chronicles the triumphs of an athlete who rises and falls…only to re-emerge stronger than ever. In this instance, readers will see that each of us is capable of unbreakable resilience—a comeback that defies expectations. While the book promises no simplistic formula for recovery, it illuminates the true grit that each of these subjects possess deep from within. The book also examines the effective tools, tactics and techniques universal to life, and the reconstruction necessary.
Using experiences gained in Unbreakable Resilience, Grossnickle would go on to help create Gridiron Alliance, a non-profit foundation that reaches out to injured student athletes (and their families), as a resource broker ready to share the both meaning and purpose that arises from catastrophic injury.