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Monday, September 25, 2017

It Only Takes One Time, Paralyzed Athlete Says On Drunk Driving Danger

Posted by John Peck in General

Blake McMeans was at the top of his game in life and in tennis when he got behind the wheel drunk and had a tragic accident that changed the course of his life.

McMeans, severely paralyzed from that 1994 accident, brought his compelling story to Bob Jones High School today (Monday Sept. 25) , telling students not to drink or text while driving.  McMeans was a scholarship athlete at the University of Tennessee when he crashed his car after a night of drinking with his fraternity brothers.

The wreck left him in a coma for more than four months. He was paralyzed and with brain injuries so severe it took years to regain his speech and even the most basic of skills like swallowing and lifting his head.

"It only takes one time. You can't pick and choose your time you have a wreck. You think you're invincible. I did, too, but I found out I am not. So please listen to me."

Blake McMeans speaking to student on stage after his speech.

The once national contender tennis star now finds center court warning teenagers not to make the same mistake he did.  (See WAFF-48 report of his BJHS visit here.) Through his non-profit Blake McMeans Foundation and Promise Tour, he educates young adults about the dangers of drinking and driving in hopes of preventing them from making a potentially life-altering - or deadly - mistake.
McMeans warned his attentive audience in the BJHS auditorium not take chances even after just one drink or by sending a text. "I was once one of the top 10 tennis players in this country. Now I struggle to button my shirt and tie my shoes. Think about that."

He remembers hearing warnings about mixing drinking and driving but never heeding them. "Looking from the outside, I was a healthy happy teenager with his whole life ahead of him. I thought drinking alcohol was cool and no big deal to drive. I gambled my future and now my future is dramatically different."

McMeans reflected how many of the same friends he once drank with when he was a tennis stud and popular in school disappeared after his accident. "I'm a constant reminder of the reality," he said. Students asked questions and crowded around him afterwards to thank him for his inspiring message.

Blake McMeans in wheelchair greeting students

Blake McMeans talking with student from wheelchair

 


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