Sean Carter was 22 years old when an alcohol-related car crash left him with a traumatic brain injury; he wishes he had known then what he knows now. That night, Sean made a life-changing decision to ride home with a friend who was drunk.
Sean and his friends, two young, college-aged men, had been out enjoying a night of drinking and socializing. Sean doesn’t remember much about what happened that night. Others told him that about five minutes from his home, the driver lost control of the Dodge pickup they were in and slammed into a tree on the side where Sean was riding. Thirty-nine days later, Sean woke up without the ability to speak, walk, or do any of the things a normal college student takes for granted each day. Prior to the accident, Sean worked as a model and dreamed of becoming a real estate attorney. He had a girlfriend and a life many would envy.
Now, almost six years since the crash, Sean lives his life in a wheelchair and uses a computer to speak. Sean and his mother, Jenny, travel to schools and tell their story, “Our goal is to touch lives with encouragement that life's challenges can be overcome with faith and perseverance; to tell people that decisions (or lack of them) may result in having to live with life long consequences; to share our story of the effects of alcohol and driving; and, to share how Sean has overcome obstacles to living in a wheelchair unable to talk!”
Using his computer and unique wheelchair that allows him to achieve a standing position, Sean recently spoke to Grenada High School students about his life since the wreck and the events that led up to it. He shared his personal experiences of growing up in a small Texas town where drinking was a favorite pastime of teens. The drinking carried over to college where there was plenty of temptation. The drinking, along with the decision to ride with someone under the influence, caused the collision that robbed him of his dreams.
“Listen to your mother, “Sean warned the teenagers in attendance, “She really does know what she’s talking about! She always told me not to drink. I wish I had listened.”
In the crash, Sean suffered many broken bones including a shattered pelvis, broken arm, broken femur and tailbone. He was also placed on a ventilator for a while due to a collapsed lung. His brain injury was caused by excessive head movement after the impact – enough movement to cause damage to his entire brain.
During the presentation, Sean’s mother, who provides his day to day care, spoke about the effects of the accident on their whole family. Since the crash, she has had to quit her job to take care of Sean full time.
A video playing during their presentation showed Sean during the early days after the crash. He was bed-ridden, requiring full-time care from his mother. He could not feed or bathe himself and had to wear diapers because of his inability to reach the bathroom on his own. This video hit home with many students who saw first-hand the life-long consequences of drinking and driving.
“How would you like to be 22-years old and have to depend on your mother for everything?” Mrs. Carter asked students. “We hope that these images, however uncomfortable they may be, will keep you from making the same mistakes as Sean.”
In Sean’s own words, he is a “prisoner in his own body”. He shared with students that he blamed God for his condition for a while and entertained thoughts of suicide. “I realized that suicide was not an option for me – I didn’t have the physical abilities to complete the task,” Sean stated. “I also came to the realization that God wasn’t to blame for my circumstances – alcohol was to blame.”
After a question and answer session with students, Sean ended his presentation with a challenge, “I challenge you to do what is different – don’t drink until you are legal age, and even then, don’t drink and drive. I wish someone had issued that challenge to me.“
Sean’s presentation was sponsored by the Grenada Pilot Club and GHS Anchor Club. Hampton Inn and the Grenada Exchange Club collaborated to provide lodging for Sean and his mother during their visit to Grenada.
To learn more about Sean and his journey, please access the website www.WhenSeanSpeaks.com .
Sean Carter and his mother, Jenny Carter, recently spoke at Grenada High School about the dangers of drinking and driving. Sean suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him without the ability to speak or walk in an alcohol-related car crash. Sean now delivers his message using a special computer that speaks for him. The Carters stressed to students the life-long consequences and the effect on the whole family that can arise from alcohol related accidents. The Carter’s trip to Grenada was sponsored by the Pilot Club and the GHS Anchor Club.
In the Loop Editor