Editor’s Note: Twenty-one-year-old Matt Blaylock from Canton, Georgia was a strong, healthy, talented, three sport athlete, with a college scholarship in his pocket until his accident. Part 4 of a 5 part series.
The world we live in isn’t just about us. The decisions we make affect the people we care about and love. I also teach my peers that drinking and partying shouldn’t be the focus of their lives. I’ve had to learn the hard way that there are other things that are more important. I know a lot of young people, including myself, who strive to be great. However, to achieve greatness, we can’t get distracted by making mistakes that may feel like fun at the time but that can cause real damage to our futures. When I went to high school, I started off on the right track.
I worked hard and really developed myself as a student, an athlete and a person. My ego turned me toward things like smoking and drinking. My focus turned from family, church, school and athletics to drinking and partying. That’s when I let these distractions cause me not to put as much attention and time as I needed to on my academics and football. Eventually, as the bad things I was doing became more important to me, they caused me to have this injury.
I truly think a lot of young people need to hear from me about what can happen when you become involved too much in yourself and not enough in what you’re trying to accomplish. If I can tell others about the opportunities I’ve had, the choices I’ve made and what’s happened to me, maybe I can prevent some of them from making those same types of bad choices. Since my accident, I’ve become much closer to my mom and my brothers. I have numbers of speaking engagements and have met many people. More and more opportunities are coming my way. I was somewhat involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) before my accident. The FCA was important to me, but it hadn’t been a priority.
However, since my accident, I’ve become more involved and serious about FCA. The FCA has given me the opportunity to speak at church groups, high school assemblies and the University of West Georgia football camp. I’m speaking at many other events too. In the past, I drove a car or walked or ran anywhere I wanted to go, but now I have a power chair and a van that’s wheelchair accessible. Instead of hand controls for the van, I use a sip and puff device, since I can’t use my hands. At first, learning to use my power chair and my van was a problem. But now, I can get around pretty easily.
To learn more about Matt Blaylock, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 770-380-1432.
Next: Matt Blaylock’s Life Now
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com