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Gridiron Alliance

Deacon Don – Life Mosaic

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The mosaic art renderings displayed were done by the artist: Kristin Grossnickle Erat (My daughter) She inspires me with her own Unbreakable Resilience and her response to cancer. Kristin helped me develop the idea of a “life mosaic theme” which describes how each of us artistically and creatively integrate: brokenness, wholeness and healing throughout lives.

Click on the post title below to read full entry.

ATHLETIC TRAINERS GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE

On the afternoon of October 6, 1999, athletic trainer “Doc” Scott Sauer was on duty at a varsity high school football practice with a watchful eye standing ready to apply his professional craft. What began as just another fall high school routine football practice proceeding at Rolling Meadows(Il.) High school brought about a positive lifesaving […]

PEOPLE WHO HELP RE-INVENT PEOPLE

I think I finally figured out why I am attracted to the world of assisting young student athletes and family members re-invent themselves after being paralyzed in sports. I love the concept of re-invention. I love the idea that one of the greatest gifts we humans give to each other is to be on full […]

LAME: WHAT IS LAME?

Four young men with spinal cord injuries paralyzed while playing sports seek to mentor newly injured student athletes. Now, that is not: “lame”. Those that fight a battle against allowing student athletes to participate uninsured by the sponsoring organization are to be applauded. They are MOST CERTAINLY, not “lame”   “Lame” is a word that connotes: […]

INVITATION: COMMUNICATION AND COMPASSIONATE CARING BRIDGE UNITES THE EXPANSION OF THE NATIONAL ATHLETE-TO-ATHLETE SURVIVOR ALLIANCE

 “Never alone-The Sports Family Reaching Out to the Sports Family-People Power Conquer Paralysis”   The power of a limitless connected community via social media is showing great promise in the sharing or knowledge and more among those of similar interests. Miracles can happen when people work together supporting a common cause.   The new: Athlete […]

ATHLETIC TRAINERS UNLOCK HOPE FOR INJURED ATHLETES: WILL YOU JOIN IN OUR CRUSADE?

We are writing today to leaders in the athletic training profession with an exciting invitation.   In 2013 The Gridiron Alliance (501 3C) organization originally organized to assist Illinois student athletes (football) with catastrophic injuries is expanding our outreach to: +all sports and +all states   We would like to send you one our books […]

Attacking the Isolation of Recovering Injured Athletes?

Today, I want to BLOG about something that has been bugging me for a long time: the huge problem of isolation and lack of resources available to student athletes who suffer catastrophic injury.   I have made a 14 year exhaustive study of what it takes to make a comeback journey for catastrophically injured student […]

Dreaming: Can We Form the National Alliance for Survivor Student Athletes? Could Deacons Help?

Today I had a dream: What if all deacons across the United States could be communicating and connected? Think of all the miracles that could happen because of teamwork? Like the 4 friends of the paralyzed man who opened up the roof and lowered their friend to the feet of Jesus as a leap of […]

LEAP OF FAITH CLUB-NOMINATIONS WELCOME-EXPLAINING RESILIENCE

“What appears dead, or nearly dead, rises again” via LEAPS OF FAITH.   I am going to begin collecting and sharing nominations for a new club I am starting here. The Leap of Faith Club builds on 14 years of collecting stories derived from studying broken neck student athletes as they activate comeback stories of adjusting to their […]

Greed-Generosity; Dealing with: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished?

Today, the remarkable story of a generous New York City cop helping a “homeless man” is all over the news again.   What was initially a social media “viral” heartwarming story has apparently turned into a quite sour twist and turn.   According to today’s Huffington Post: “Asked about the $100 all-weather boots Officer Larry […]

Students Seek Insurance for Athletes-Round 2

  Guest Blog: Monday, November 19, 2012  By Megan Jones, Editor-in-Chief-Wheeling High School (IL)   Gridiron Alliance, local advocates who reach out to paralyzed high school athletes, asked District 214 to consider a paid insurance policy that would cover student athletics in case of “catastrophic” accidents. The discussion arose at the school board meeting on […]

Guest BLOG: Catastrophic consequences: D214 needs insurance to aid injured student athletes

Liam Brady (student editor in chief) writes in the November 9, 2012 edition of ” Pacer”- student newspaper of the Rolling Meadows High School student newspaper:   Every time an athlete steps out onto the playing field there is potential for disaster, and sometimes this disaster is more than just a lost game.   Since […]

DO YOU HAVE UNBREAKABLE RESILIENCE? PREPARE FOR THE CHALLENGE AHEAD NOW: READ THE BOOK

THIS MORNING’S NEWS: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a dislocated knee and damage to several ligaments, the university announced Sunday, but Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier told reporters that he’s optimistic about the star back’s future.   How will Marcus Lattimore rally what it takes to deal with his bad news, work through the […]

PARALYSIS ON THE MOVE? WHO WILL HELP?

Ahead is a big week for me and those involved in fostering a movement to deal with issues related to sports safety for high school athletes. I am proudly carrying the potent inspirational power that comes from three young men who have passed from this life from complications from their sports injuries. With Gridiron Alliance board […]

IF ONLY-CLARION CALL-INSURE STUDENT ATHLETES NOW

If only the School Board of High School District 214 could have seen what I witnessed in the aftermath of a catastrophic football injury to one of their students……….The broken neck seventeen year old junior Rob Komosa received on October 6,1999 was one terrible consequence of his youthful decision to play high school sports.   Another unintended consequence of […]

HOW COMMUNITY-UNITY SAVES LIVES

One of the major reasons I continue to mobilize and come to the assistance of paralyzed former athletes is that I witnessed the miracle of community in action. Community power changes lives for the better. Every catastrophically injured student athlete; rich, or poor, white, or black needs the power of community to mobilize and provide unified […]

ACTION? TIME NOW TO INSURE STUDENT ATHLETES? PLEADING MY CASE

Please don’t call me: “chicken little” running around claiming that the sky is falling.   Let me plead my case for providing catastrophic injury insurance for high school student athletes-right now…at no new taxes, no new fees for parents…..   Listen up?   Read the national sports news: Former Bears superstar: Jim McMahon is telling […]

SCHOOLS PLEDGE-TO DEAL WITH CATASTROPHIC INJURY

  SCHOOL SAFETY-INSURANCE PLEDGE   Now is the time for our nation’s high schools to do their very best to promote safety in sports and take steps to put into place a realistic and practical and affordable catastrophic injury safety net. A model program is in place in Illinois where for less than $2.00 per […]

Life Mosaic Theme

PIECING TOGETHER THE GRACE AND BLESSINGS OF AN “IMPERFECT LIFE“   Life means self-motion. Loss of ability to move oneself, paralysis, can easily lead to self-pity. The stories in these pages (The book: Unbreakable Resilience) show a different path. They are important for all of us.”   Francis Cardinal George, OMI Archbishop of Chicago   […]

BEAUTY IN PARALYSIS? A PEDESTRIAN VIEW

When paralysis comes to visit for an extended stay in one’s body it spills over into the lives of others. When teens become paralyzed in sports I have witnessed the aftershocks of extensive adjustment necessary in the home environment beginning with family members. The instant change of a broken neck or broken back brings on the […]

NEVER ALONE-BATTLE CRY FOR ACTION

As I look back at my involvement in the movement to gain attention to spinal cord injuries in high school sports I can look to identifying a single moment of prompting my action. I seem to recall taking notice of a Daily Herald newspaper photo of Rob Komosa, a 17 year old former high school football player on the front […]

GIMME: PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE

“But first be a person who needs people People, people who need people Are the luckiest people in the world.” The familiar lyrics from the well-known Barbara Streisand song:”People”,– have much to say to us today in a message I wish to pass along. I wrote the book: Unbreakable Resilience as a celebration of the […]

ON DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT

Begging is a tough business to be in. Begging and seeking interest and support for paralysis has had many tough moments for me. Begging for others to join the cause or begging and raising support for the Gridiron Alliance is sometimes just darn frustrating. What is the antidote to discouragement? Is it: Anger? Depression? Prayer? […]

GAINING TRACTION WITH PARALYSIS

In today’s BLOG I will write about the value of using role models to set standards and goals. In the very early days of working to find ways to help Rob Komosa adjust to his quadriplegia I searched the net for similar situations that might help focus a positive recovery story. I located two very […]

WHY CARE? PART II

“It’s open”, said Barbara Komosa that April day in 2000,- the very first time I visited soon to be friend paralyzed Robert (Rob) Komosa. I walked the 3 blocks often to visit Rob and after knocking on the door, I heard the very same invitation: “it’s open. I grew to care about paralysis because of […]

WHY CARE?

One of the great unsolved mysteries of my life is figuring out exactly why for so many years I have become immersed in the world of paralysis. Why do I care? Many people have asked me that question and I have lots of answers. I might turn the question and ask the reader: why do […]

OF SPIDER WEBS AND QUICKSAND ESCAPES

We humans have so much going for us possessing the ability for creative thinking and problem solving. I particularly admire the ability to invent escapes. I think I have always enjoyed survival stories, escapes and maneuvers of dealing positively with shipwreck circumstances. Over the years of working with hundreds of high school students who found […]

IT STARTS WITH ONE: ON THE POWER OF A LEMONADE STAND

Today I want to celebrate that power within us that not only thinks about taking action on behalf of some cause, but springs us into action.     When dealing with the after impact of a “broken neck situation” things have a way of looking dark and despairing. I saw my job much of the […]

GROWING THE HABIT OF COMBACK RESILIENCE

I hate to be a pest but I need your help.   For 12 years I have been building a ministry that deals with a fate worse than death: quadriplegic paralysis in high school sports.   As a deacon this ministry has changed my life.   From the very first rescues I performed as a […]

JJ Helps Invent the Gridiron Alliance

Today, I want to celebrate JJ. O’Connor. Early in my friendship with Rob Komosa I heard stories told by Rob about “JJ”. Young high school student, JJ O’connor was paralyzed while playing hockey and he dares to say: “the injury was the “best thing that ever happened to me”. (and he means it) JJ brought his […]

WHY THIS BOOK? UNBREAKABLE RESILIENCE

Two compelling reasons drove me to write this book:   First, over a twelve year period I became mesmerized and amazed at the creativity, motivation and just plain entrepreneurial spirit of the eight young athletes and their response to catastrophic injury. I want to tell the world that these boys are not dis-abled, NO!!!!-they are gifted […]

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