Thursday, January 13, 2022
Formerly a German national player
Shawn Bradley’s fate is tragic
At 2.29 meters tall, Shawn Bradley is one of the tallest players in NBA history. He played a few games for the German national team in 2001 and is therefore well known to many fans. After a tragic accident, he is confined to a wheelchair and fights dark thoughts.
The signal shrills every three hours at night. Shawn Bradley has to change positions in bed to avoid getting sores, and the 2.29-metre giant uses straps attached to his knees to do this. There is no other way. The nurse only comes in the morning to freshen him up for the day.
Bradley, a former NBA professional who also briefly played basketball for the German national team, has been paralyzed from the waist down for a good year. The 49-year-old has to overcome additional hurdles because of his size in addition to the enormous challenges that the stroke of fate brought with it. What was an advantage in sport is a burden in the new everyday life. Even the hospital bed was far too short for him.
A trip on January 20, 2021 changed everything. A few blocks from his home in St. George, Utah, Bradley was, as is so often the case, on his racing bike, a custom-made bike that was custom-made for his size, when a van hit him while overtaking a parked car. At almost 30 km / h he crashed into the standing Saturn Sedan and fell headlong onto the asphalt. His helmet broke. “Am I going to die slowly?” Bradley wondered when he was lying on the floor unable to move.
He survived, but his spinal cord was pinched by displaced vertebrae. Bradley is paralyzed from the chest down but can use his arms. “His accident is a challenge unequaled in the history of modern medicine,” writes “Sports Illustrated”, even the showers in the clinic were too small. Only since November has he been living at home with his wife Carrie and Haylie, Dubbie and Max, whom he adopted. Bradley also has six children of his own from his first marriage.
“Maybe better if it was all over”
Bradley completed his rehab in Dallas, where he once played with Dirk Nowitzki for the Mavericks. When he visited him with club boss Mark Cuban, it was difficult. “When people I’m very close to see me like this for the first time, it’s emotional,” Bradley told Sports Illustrated. Afterwards he always feels “extremely drained”.
Bradley now weighs almost 160 kilograms. His wheelchair, like the custom-made bicycle, cost $8,000. Money is not a problem, the former “Big Man” has earned a good 70 million dollars in his career. Eventually, the family plans to move to Dallas to a new home that better suits Bradley’s needs. He needs more space. After the accident, one of the paramedics was concerned that the 2.29 meter man could not fit in the ambulance.
He is currently being lifted out of bed into a wheelchair with a small crane, which takes 15 minutes. In the evening it’s the other way around, but that should stop, Bradley wants to do it without help. “We all think it’s possible,” said Bradley: “We’re not there yet – but we’re getting there.” All of this is made more difficult because the ex-basketball player is the first patient of this size. “Usually we do a day of testing, then treatment,” Sports Illustrated quotes Dr. Bryndon Hatch: “We evaluated him for several days, then we came up with a plan.”
Bradley, born to a German mother and a US soldier in Landstuhl, Palatinate, is not always so positive. “Maybe it would be better if it was all over,” the mind sometimes haunts: “These thoughts creep in – and they’re real. I can’t imagine reacting to them, but I definitely have them.”