Paraplegic Randy Pullings and his Intense Physical Therapy

Doctors didn't expect Randy to survive the motorcycle accident

Doctors didn’t expect Randy to survive the motorcycle accident.

Editor’s Note: When 37-year-old Randy Pullings of Jacksonville, Florida, almost died in a motorcycle accident, he made a dramatic change from the person he was to the person he is today. He went from being totally focused on living big and making money to being a minister and humanitarian. Here’s the story of his transformation. Part 2 of a 5 part series.

The doctors pretty much told Randy Pullings that he wouldn’t live through the operation after his motorcycle wreck. They even had asked him to sign a consent form so they could take his organs as soon as life left his body. But he refused to sign the forms, afraid that if he agreed to donate his organs while he was still alive, the doctors might be in too big of a hurry to take them.

“When I woke-up the next morning, I decided to start fighting for my life,” Pullings remembers. “I learned that two ribs had been removed on one side of my body, so they could put plates in to stabilize my spine. As I lay in the bed being thankful I was alive, I told God, ‘Thank you for sparing my life.’ At that time I was 24-years old, I was young, I liked to party, and I knew where I was heading if I died. I told God, ‘Now that I’ve made it, I want you to know that I’ll change my life. I won’t live my life just to make Randy happy; I’ll dedicate my life to helping other people.’ I knew if I died, and people came to my funeral, all they’d be able to say would be, ‘Randy was a nice guy.’ So I told God, ‘When I die for the last time, I want people to have something good to say about me.’ I’d like to know that people would say something like, ‘Randy would give you the shirt off his back. He’d do anything in his power to help you or make your life better. He was a man who was concerned more about other people than himself. He really made service and helping other people his life’s work.’”

Pullings was in bad shape after fracturing his thoracic eighth vertebra, collapsing both his lungs, rupturing his liver and damaging his shoulder. He was paralyzed from the top of his stomach down. But Pullings says, “I really felt that because of the accident, I had a second chance at life, and I could create a better life than I’d been living. My whole goal in life had been about making money. None of the money I had made really helped me when I was in the hospital. None of the things that had been so important to me, like the parties and the women and the other things I was into, really mattered when I looked death in the face.

After the accident, Randy wanted to dedicate his life to helping others.

After the accident, Randy wanted to dedicate his life to helping others.

“As I began to recover, I saw my doctors, nurses and therapists in a totally different light. These people had been to school and were dedicated to making the world and the people in it better, and I had only been dedicated to making money. I began to think there was nothing more rewarding in life than being a doctor and helping people. However, when I started physical therapy at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in New York, my therapists were really tough on me. They did a lot of pushing and forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do. They made me try to learn skills I never thought I’d use, because I was convinced I would walk again. Why did I need to know how to get in and out of a wheelchair, go to the bathroom as a handicapped person or use hand controls on an automobile, when I knew the wheelchair was only a temporary means of transportation?”

Pullings was glad when he was released from rehab and could go home to rest. He didn’t feel like he’d been allowed to recover from his accident after his surgery, because rehab had started so quickly. When he went home, he realized he was 25-years old, married with three children and owned a house that he couldn’t enter, because there were 10 steps to go up to get inside. So, he had to stay with his parents. His insurance wouldn’t cover all his surgery and rehab expenses, and he had two car notes and three mortgages to pay. While he was injured, his renters didn’t continue to pay the rent on his properties, and he also had a five-family apartment building to maintain. He had hospital bills right at $1 million. All the people he owed wanted money, and he didn’t have a job any more. Pulling says, “I realized I was in one big mess.”

Next: Randy Pullings Moves On with His Life after His Accident


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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