Isaiah Pead’s football career ended the moment he lost part of his left leg in a car accident last November.
But his road is far from over, and the former Rams second-round draft pick hopes to use his new reality to inspire others.
In a moving story by Alex Marvez of the Sporting News, the 26-year-old Pead details the trauma of the accident that claimed his left leg and damaged his right, and talks about his hopes for the future.
Pead was speeding but not impaired at the time of his accident. He wasn’t wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, which may have saved his life because paramedics think he might have bled to death if they’d have had to cut him out of the car. A friend who was riding with his was wearing his, and escaped with a concussion and minor injuries.
But Pead doesn’t think about what he lost, perhaps because his football career was waning after being released by the Dolphins anyway.
“I want to continue to be a motivator to whatever I come across,” he said. “That starts with myself, looking at myself in the mirror every day — a full body mirror.
“You can see, you know, half of me. I’m my own inspiration, literally.”
In the short term, his goals are continuing his rehab, and building a trucking company which he hopes becomes his post-football livelihood. But he also wants to help others who have been through significant injuries such as his own.
The long-term goal is to raise his young son Deuce, who was born shortly before the accident.
“That’s my guy,” Pead said. “Sometimes I get so tired of the crutches that I hop around. He’ll fuss and cry and I’ll come hopping around the corner. He’ll see me hopping and just start kicking and stuff. It’s the funniest in the world.”
Pead has undergone eight surgeries, and is still awaiting a prosthetic leg. For now, he’s still on crutches, and he’s rebuilding his body by doing a lot of push-ups.
It’s the kind of change that could cause many to fall into self-pity, but the 26-year-old Pead is determined to do more. And his resilience has become an inspiration to the people around him.