In the late afternoon of August 19th the cross country team prepared for their routine warm up and went out for a run on Gates Mills Boulevard. But the habitual run did not end as it normally would.
James Alex Keene (`10) was struck by a 1983 Porsche around 5:20 PM. Alex was first sent to Hillcrest Hospital but was later transported to Metro Health Medical Center where he was treated for two broken legs and a fractured skull. What has Alex taken out of this tragic experience? Most people couldn’t imagine what hardships Keene had to overcome in order to be where he is today. Knowing Alex means knowing he is a soldier at heart.
What has Alex taken out of this tragic experience? Most people couldn’t imagine what hardships Keene had to overcome in order to be where he is today. Knowing Alex means knowing he is a soldier at heart.
Almost three weeks after the accident, Keene is recovering and has a completely new perspective. Now that he is partially recovered and moving well in a wheel chair, mobility is not a big problem for him. He says, “It is amazing to see how much more you notice in a wheel chair than on your own two feet. I noticed that the walkway from the arch in the Middle School to the science wing is uphill the first time I pushed myself up the walk.”
The obstacles Keene has to overcome on a daily basis are everyday tasks such as getting out of bed and getting in and out of cars. All these things have become less easy than they once were for Keene. Naturally, physical obstacles are not the only obstacles Keene has to overcome.
There is a complete other side to the recovery that is totally overlooked. This is the emotional side. Keene says, “I spent most of my summer preparing for cross country. Now, instead of participating in the sport that was more or less my life, I am stranded in a chair, unable to even stand on my feet to watch meets. The loss of my last season is not easy to bear.”
After this experience, and after all the obstacles Keene had to overcome, he has “a hopeful future.” Keene has found a new appreciation for disabled people and the difficulties they have to overcome. He also gained a newfound realization that things can happen to anyone. Unexpected things may happen and change the face of many people’s lives.
Although Keene may not have intended for this incident to occur, he looks as this as just “one more roadblock” that has been placed in front of him on his path through life. Keene is extremely grateful that his accident was not worse. He has a completely new outlook on life after this trying experience, and he can’t wait to get back on his feet for the rest of his senior year!