One year ago today, May 2nd, 2012 started out like most normal days for me. I had just moved into a new office in Burbank. It was a warm afternoon, and I was driving to drop off a rent check. My dad called. “Your brother Brad was in a motorcycle accident. He is in critical condition and on a breathing machine at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville. We don’t know if he will live through the night. That’s all we know.” I was stunned. I was a zombie as I handed our landlord the check.
Without thinking, I took the last flight out of Burbank airport with Demaree. While waiting in the terminal, not knowing any information, I managed to do some googling…
It didn’t look good. After a torturous 8 hour flight, we raced to the hospital. His wife Jeanie and two friends Justin and Jason were there waiting. I was able to go in and see him….
Brad was unconscious and completely covered except for his face. He was trembling a lot. It was a horribly long night.
We found out more details…. Brad had taken a break from a recording session (he is a music producer) and was going to get some M&M’s at a local Circle K. It was only his second time riding his motorcycle this year, and he was casually cruising around 35mph. A 16yr old girl coming the other way somehow didn’t see him and turned left right into him. Brad hit the back of her car and flew about 40 feet in the air, landing on the cement. He was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, a backpack and thankfully, a helmet, which saved his life.
He was dead on the scene, with his right leg bent back over his head.
Amazingly, one of Vanderbilt’s head ER doctors was right behind him and was able to give Brad CPR within a minute of the accident. He revived him and helped stop the bleeding as the ambulance came.
Brad remembers none of the accident, even a year later.
We found out that Brad: shattered his right femur, tore most of right heel clean off the bone, shattered his clavicle bone, broke his left wrist (both bones), broke right ankle, broke right elbow, right shoulder was torn open, severe nerve damage to right arm (and tons of cuts and stitches)
The night of the accident. Waiting around…
His bloody helmet. Destroyed.
My dad inspecting his bike…
He was lucky to be alive.
Brad regained consciousness the next morning. My parents and brother Austin arrived the next day, and the first thing Brad said was “Hey Dave and Austin, sell your bikes, it’s not worth it.” I was so glad that his brain and organs were ok and so was his sense of humor. (I did sell my street motorcycle 2 months later, by the way)
We stayed with Brad, pretty much taking shifts for the next 2 weeks at Vanderbilt hospital.
It slowly became apparent that his right arm would never function properly again. The nerves were too badly damaged. He could only move his fingers, but not his elbow or shoulder. It was a huge thing to hear for a 30yr old. He had many more surgeries in those two weeks, trying to save his foot and replace missing skin. It was a rough time, but ironically, it was at least nice that we could be together as a family.
After the first two weeks, I went home to LA for a few days. Demaree just found out she booked a 10-month tour in Wicked the musical and had to prepare. I flew back to Nashville without her and planned to stay with Brad for a month, helping my mom and his wife take care of him.
I got back to Nashville and Brad was already in much better shape and spirits.
His friends and I built him a wheelchair ramp that week so he could come home in style.
Brad finally took his first car ride and came home.
He was happy to be at home, but it was really hard for my mom and Jeanie to be his nurses. He couldn’t go to the bathroom on his own and was in tremendous pain. Their home became a hospital.
Before the accident, I was getting ready to shoot my next short film. Because I was going to be in Nashville for a month, I decided to make it happen there. It was a great experience and was good to have something to distract myself. Brad came by the set one day…
Here are some more photos from that month…
I flew home after that month, exhausted, but also so thankful that Brad was doing better and was still the same best friend he’s always been.
I came back to Nashville a few weeks later to check up on him. I got to witness his first time trying to walk. It was awesome! (but painful!)
He was now able to go on more car rides and could take his neck brace off finally. Here he is 2.5 months after the accident. His wounds had healed really well already.
Brad has been back to work for the past 7 months and can now drive and do most things pretty normally. He still can’t move his right ankle. Not sure how much motion he will get back. His right arm still doesn’t work, even after some more nerve surgeries. The doctors say that it could slowly get better though, so we are hoping and praying! His bones have all healed and his scars look a lot better. And scars are cool, right?! His right foot had some major skin grafts, but those are doing well too.
APRIL 2013: UPDATE
I just got to see Brad last week for the first time in about 8 months. He and his wife drove down to Dallas to meet us for Demaree’s last Wicked show. He is doing so well! He drove the entire 10 hours each way, and for the most part, gets around at about the same speed as he always has!
Anyway, thanks so much for reading. The past 12 months have been crazy for my family, and I think we are still trying to process things. It has challenged my faith and pretty much everything I thought I knew about life. If anything, go home and give your loved ones a hug tonight, or maybe give a brother or sister a phone call.