In his retirement, fate sent Dave Vaughn into a second career: recovery.
It was over Thanksgiving 2018 on a family trip to Newport Beach, California, that the former Mead and Whitworth baseball coach suffered a fractured vertebra and spinal cord injury in a bodyboarding accident. Two surgeries and a month and a half hospitalization followed before he could return home to a rehabilitation that was only beginning.
“It’s been 21 months and I have a lot to be thankful for, that’s for sure,” said Vaughn, who retired from his counseling position at Mead in 2017.
“I’m disappointed in where I am, say, compared to where a year ago I thought I might be. It’s just such a paradigm shift from being a hyperactive guy, but people are always reminding me, ‘You weren’t doing this before’ and it’s important to remember that.”
Vaughn was unable to use his legs, hands or arms when he returned home and “had to have everything done for me,” he said. “But now I’m using a walker and walking some with a trekking pole, and can feed myself and brush my teeth.”
He lavishes credit on his wife Tammy and friends like Bob McCray, who puts him through a strenuous Bowflex workout on a regular basis “that leaves me dragging.”
“It’s really about the nerves, and you can’t control that with a spinal cord injury,” Vaughn said. “But they do reconnect. Sometimes it just takes years. But every day’s a gift, man.”
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