“Tough times never last, tough people do.”
This may sound like nothing more than a catchy phrase, but when Michael Peacock’s grandmother gave him a hat with it printed on the front while he laid in the hospital bed, this phrase became his way of life.
Three weeks before high school graduation, Peacock was hanging out at the pool, drinking and celebrating with friends.
He made a shallow dive, and his life changed forever.
When he hit the wall of the pool, Peacock broke his neck and injured his spinal cord, leaving his body paralyzed from chest down.
His injury level has been classified as a C7 Complete Asia A, meaning that he can move his arms, but has dexterity problems with his fingers and hands, and has no sensory functions in the lower segments of the spinal cord.
Peacock was kept in ICU for over three weeks and was told he would never walk again.
When he was released, he was placed in a halo brace for about two months, which stabilizes the neck and allows the spinal column and ligaments to heal.
No longer able to participate in football and powerlifting, he was forced to replace his activities with rigorous physical therapy.
He took a year off after graduating high school to focus on physical therapy and becoming independent again.
Support from his family and friends helped him maintain a positive outlook, but when asked what helped him get through his injury the most, he answered, “My own will.”
Peacock stated, “Everything changed. I pretty much had to start all over when it happened. I still learn new things every day.”
Many people in his position focus only on walking again, rather than living again, but not Peacock.
He has worked hard to get back control over his life, and he won’t let his injury stop him from doing what he enjoys.
Peacock joined a Quad Rugby team straight after rehab called the Pasadena Texans, and now practices at least twice a week and attends numerous state and national level competitions.
Murderball, as he calls it, gives him the chance to be aggressive and athletic that he misses from before his injury.
Life constantly throws obstacles-people either overcome their obstacles, or they allow the obstacles to consume their life.
Peacock has found a way to defeat his obstacle and now lives an inspiring life.
When asked if he has any advice for others in his position, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Just don’t give up, it definitely gets better. If you’re injured, whatever, get over it. Move on.”
He does have one piece of advice to offer to his fellow Bearkats though: if he’s coming downhill on a wet day, move.