Dr. Dale Hull’s Olympic Dream

Editor’s Note: As a Physician, Dr Dale Hull was used to helping patients. When his life literally turned upside down after a fall on a trampoline, Dr. Hull had to re-learn everything. After his recovery, he knew he wanted to continue helping patients, but in a different way. Part 4 of 5 part series.

In 2001, my recovery had progressed to the point that I could use arm crutches, and I was starting to get finger and wrist function. I was making an extraordinary amount of progress. About that time, I realized that I needed a new goal to strive for. The 2002 Winter Olympics were awarded to Salt Lake City, Utah, and the International Olympic Committee announced that they were going to allow ordinary citizens to carry the Olympic torch. So, I told my therapist, Jan, that my new goal was to be an Olympic torch bearer. But I didn’t want to carry the Olympic torch in a wheelchair, I wanted to walk and carry the torch. As a matter of fact, if I could run, I wanted to run with the torch and carry it in my own hands without any kind of assistive device. But, even with the progress I had already made, this new goal was a seemingly impossible task. I was still partially numb, in my right hand, which was the hand I used to hold things. That function would disappear at any given moment and I would drop whatever I was holding. For someone like me, the idea of carrying a 3-1/2-pound Olympic torch with gloves on in the cold and not dropping it was a very big deal. My goal became Jan’s goal. I contacted everyone I knew, asked them to write letters to the Olympic Committee nominating me to be a torch bearer.

In July of 2001, I learned that I would be a torch bearer. I only had 6 months to get my body and my mind ready to carry the Olympic torch. Jan put together a plan of exercise and therapy to condition me to accomplish this feat. I took one of my son’s baseball bats and strapped an ankle weight to the bat to replicate the weight of the torch. I knew I had to walk .2 of a mile and carry the torch. Jan and I would go to a high school track, and I would practice walking around that track holding the baseball bat with the ankle weight attached to it. I had to learn how to balance myself, how to change hands with the torch and how to perform every task that would be required of a torch bearer. I had to prepare my body for the Olympic torch walk in addition to my normal therapy routine. About 2 weeks before I was supposed to carry the torch, a friend who had carried the Olympic torch in Texas let me borrow her real Olympic torch. I practiced carrying it and did everything I could to prepare for this event.

My turn to carry the torch was on February 8th, which was the last day of the torch carrying. I was far down the line of torch bearers and close to the stadium where the torch would be used to light the Olympic flame. I invited hundreds of people to cheer me along. I knew carrying the Olympic torch would be an unbelievable experience, and in that brief moment, I knew that the entire world would be watching me.

48 hours before the event, I was told I was moving back 2/10th of a mile. I was upset by this news because I didn’t have time to call everyone and let them know I wouldn’t be at original place. I didn’t realize until the day of the torch ceremony that because of the move, I’d be passing the torch to one of the most famous basketball players in the history of basketball, Karl Malone.

For more information on NeuroWorx go to http://www.neuroworx.org/ or go to their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Neuroworx.

Next: The Neuroworx Foundation

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 http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

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