A Proud Individual

Video posted April 26, 2012 in News, Best of CommMedia by Travis Clark


            Kyle Keech was a regular loud-mouthed kid. He talked fast and took it slow, even putting off working on his seventh-grade report due after Christmas break. But who does schoolwork on Christmas anyway? He wrestled, fished and ran with his dog…

…until Christmas break ended.

            Finishing his report the first morning back to school, Kyle missed the bus. Riding with his older sister was understandably forbidden as she’d just gotten her license, but he rode along anyway.

            They were five miles from his house. She slipped on black ice, crossed lanes and was T-boned. Things changed.

            Both of Kyle’s sisters walked away with minor injuries. But with a spinal tear, internal skull bleed, countless abrasions, fractures and broken bones, he was not so lucky.

            Airlifted to the nearest hospital in Philadelphia, he was in critical condition and spent the following five weeks in a medically induced coma.

            “You know how in TV shows, the person in a coma is looking around at you but he looks like he’s dead? That’s real,” he says with a slow, drawn out drawl, “I was there, I just couldn’t move anything.”

            He had a spinal tear, internal skull bleeding, countless abrasions, fractures and broken bones, but he couldn’t be curbed. After months in care, Kyle began to catch up with his classmates. And after less than a year, he succeeded, whether or not his classmates understood him anymore.

“It’s been hard to try to make him seem as normal as possible to his peers growing up,” his father Steve said, choking back tears. “A lot of his old friends have left him behind because of his disability, a disability he had no fault in and cannot do anything about.”

            The medical bills have, to this point, cost the Keeches $1.5 million dollars.

            Though he may be caught up mentally, physically he has a long way to go.  Kyle says it’s a time constraint for him more than anything. He expresses how frustrating it is that he’s thinking much faster than his body will spit it out, saying “I’m more there than you think.”

With a rod in his spine that is drilled to his hips, plates in his legs and very little use of his hands, it’s difficult for Kyle to go out on the town—something he does nearly every night anyway. He rolls around the dance floor like a wheelchair-bound Don Juan. Frequent schmoozing at the club Indigo has even made him a bit of a local celebrity on the dance floor, so Indigo management made him their new promoter a few weeks ago.

            The question remains, is he bitter about the accident and its effects on him?

            “The only resentment I hold is in the lack of ambition I see in everybody else. I’m doing the work of 5 men,” he says, “…ladies, watch out.”