At one time or another, each of us may have become acquainted with an individual who has overcome personal injuries and successfully transformed their disabilities and special needs into special lifetime accomplishments.
Approximately twenty years ago, S2KM blog author Patrick Hindert met such an individual. That individual’s name is Kyle Walsh. Recently, Hindert was able to renew his acquaintance with Kyle over dinner while Kyle was visiting Cincinnati to attend a football coaching clinic.
In 1991, Kyle helped his high school football team, the A&M Consolidated Tigers, win the Texas Division 4 State Championship. The following year, Kyle fulfilled a lifetime dream by successfully trying out for and joining the roster of the University of Texas varsity football team as an undersized "walk-on" center and long snapper.
During his Freshman year at UT, Kyle suffered a catastrophic injury that forever changed his life. While returning to Austin after celebrating his birthday with his family, Kyle broke his neck as a result of an automobile accident caused by a tire blowout. None of the other passengers were seriously injured. At age 19, however, Kyle became a quadriplegic.
Within two weeks of his accident, Kyle had already enrolled in an extensive rehabilitation program. He subsequently returned to UT and graduated with a major in history and a minor in special education. Following graduation, Kyle returned to his hometown of College Station, Texas and accepted a job teaching and coaching football at A&M Consolidated, his former high school. Kyle's new life blossomed in 2004 when he met his future wife Audra. They were married in 2006 and last year adopted their daughter, Adalee Bree.
KBTX-TV featured Kyle, his football team and his family in a 2011 video titled "Coaching from a Different Perspective".
Some members of our industry may remember that Kyle, his father and his mother were guest speakers at the Annual Meeting of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) following Kyle's graduation from UT. That same year, Kyle served as Honorary Chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Special Olympic Soccer Tournament.
Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Kyle is in good health. He works out daily using a specialized stationary bike that emits electrical discharges to stimulate his leg muscles and allows him to pedal the bike himself. Kyle's favorite individual sport is scuba diving which he pursues internationally and which provides an opportunity for Kyle to experience "normal" physical activity.
During our dinner in Cincinnati, Kyle expressed gratitude and humility while discussing his life and his accomplishments. He enjoys and embraces his roles as husband, father, teacher and coach. Kyle's impact on other people, as mentor and role model, continues to expand. He has twice served as honorary speaker during graduation ceremonies at A&M Consolidated High School.
Congratulations to Kyle for his continuing achievements and contributions to his family, high school, football team and community.