Superman James Perdue Meets His Kryptonite: Spinal Cord Injury

James Perdue was a talented baseball player.

James Perdue was a talented baseball player.

Editor’s Note: At 19, James Perdue believed that he was invincible like Superman. He was tough and had overcome every obstacle that would prevent him from capturing his dream of being a professional baseball player, until the day he met his Kryptonite. Each stage of his life is a message for each of us. Part 2 of a 5 part series.

James Perdue truly thought he was Mr. Invincible. He believed that nothing bad could happen to him. In fact, he even convinced his own mother that she worried too much and that he knew exactly where his life was going–to major league baseball. When his father passed away, Perdue became the man of the house and took over every difficult househould task and repair. He was confident, assertive and hard-working. He was absolutely certain that he would never depend on anyone–people would depend on him.

“The day after my first college baseball game, I was playing pick up tackle football. We didn’t wear pads, helmets or protective gear. These games were just boys roughhousing. About five plays before my world changed, I remember seeing one of my teammates being tackled high. I yelled to the opposing player, ‘You keep tackling high like that, and you’re going to break somebody’s neck.’ I’d planned to go back to my dormitory room, but in the huddle, one of my teammates said, ‘Stay for one more play. We need someone to run the ball.’ I agreed. When the football was pitched to me, I broke through the line, broke free from two different tacklers and scored the touchdown. As I was putting the ball down in the end zone and turning around to look at my teammates, I saw out of my peripheral vision that someone was coming after me. I felt a hit at my shoulders, I heard a loud pop, and I went to the ground.

At first I thought my right collarbone was broken. I tried to get up because I was so mad. I thought that even though my right collarbone was probably broken, I could fight that guy with my left hand, since I was a left handed pitcher. I wasn’t about to let him get away with that cheap shot after I’d scored. I lifted my head in anger, but the rest of my body wouldn’t move. I laid my head back down and took a deep breath. I tried again to get up.

“Remember, I really believed I was invincible. I was strong, I was tough, and I was on top of the world, I thought. However, when I couldn’t get up the second time, I thought I just needed to rest. I attempted to get up a third time, and I couldn’t. That’s when I knew I was paralyzed. The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Oh, no, I’m not going to get that professional baseball contract I was betting on, and I’ll probably be in a nursing home the rest of my life.’”

To learn more about Dr. James Perdue’s motivational speaking, go to or email him at

Next: The First Time James Perdue Has To Depend On Someone–The Paramedics

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at


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