Life Catches Up With James Perdue, but He Hasn’t Let SCI Get the Best of Him

It was difficult for Perdue to depend on others for assistance.

It was difficult for Perdue to depend on others for assistance.

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: 19 year old James Perdue lay in the end zone after just scoring a touchdown for his team and getting hit late by an opposing player. In a few short seconds, Perdue realized he was paralyzed from the waist down and that his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player had ended. Part 5 of a 5 part series.

In 2009, Dr. James Perdue says that life finally caught up with him. “In 2008, I’d been bitten by a brown recluse spider. I didn’t know I’d been bitten, until a sore about the size of a tennis ball appeared on the bottom of my foot. All that dead tissue had to be removed from the bottom of my foot. Before the spider bite, I could stand and pivot to carry out everyday tasks. But once I got the spider bite, and all the dead tissue had to be removed, I was told not to stand up to keep from damaging the new tissue that was trying to grow on my foot. After 6 months, I couldn’t stand anymore, because I’d lost all the strength in my legs. I was no longer independent. I kept going into a deeper and deeper depression.

“In January 2009, I attempted to commit suicide. I tried three different times, but they were all unsuccessful. The first two times, I overdosed on Sudafed and Benadryl which left me with a bad headache. I finally decided to close my garage, turn on my van and inhale carbon monoxide gas.”

“I woke up in a hospital. My neighbor Scot came to see how things were going with me, and he found me and called the paramedics. At the hospital, they put me in a hyperbaric chamber to force oxygen into my body and get the carbon monoxide out. I was in the hospital for 7 weeks. A doctor and a psychiatrist came in to talk to me. I told them why I’d tried to kill myself. I told them I felt like a burden to people, and I felt responsible for my brother’s death. Earlier I’d called my insurance company, explained my situation and asked if someone could come to my home for 15 minutes in the morning to help me get out of bed and get on my clothes. I also told the insurance people that I needed someone for 15 minutes in the evening to help me take my clothes off and get into bed. But the insurance company told me that I’d have to quit my job, sell my house and move into a nursing home to get that kind of help.

Perdue and his service canine companion, Ricardo, relaxing on a beautiful day.

Perdue and his service canine companion, Ricardo, relaxing on a beautiful day.

“The doctor and psychiatrist said I needed 6 weeks of rehab, to be trained how to get into bed, how to get out of bed and how to put on my clothes. After 6 weeks of rehab, I still needed some assistance. I finally accepted the fact that I did need help, and I worked with a psychologist for about a year. I decided that God wouldn’t let me kill myself, because He had a greater purpose for me. I resigned from teaching, because I’d learned that if you succeeded at not killing yourself, then your reward more than likely was to be fired by your school system.”

“Today I’m working on my motivational speaking and writing career. I tell people that, ‘In a baseball game, three strikes, and you’re out. But in life, three strikes don’t necessarily mean you’re out.’  I was zero for three in trying to commit suicide when I learned that God still had a plan for my life. I want to take the tragedy that I’ve been through and tell other people that there’s always hope, there’s always a way out, and there’s always purpose in life. You just have to keep looking for it, until you find it.”

Please watch the inspiring video below. James Perdue discusses his graduation and how far he’s come in life!

To learn more about James Perdue’s motivational speaking, go to, or email him at 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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One Response to Life Catches Up With James Perdue, but He Hasn’t Let SCI Get the Best of Him

  1. Dean Nelson says:

    Dr. James Perdue- empowers a motivational and inspirational spirit!
    James resonates the life message, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,”
    and this last year, has coached my aspiration to pursue a doctorate in education,
    at Tennessee State University.
    Thank-you, Sir!

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