Dennis Byrd, a former NFL player for the New York Jets, died in a car accident. Also injured in the automobile accident were two minors.
The former NFL player, who quickly had his football career taken away after a severe neck injury, has died due to injuries succumbed during an automobile accident on Saturday morning. It has been revealed that two minor children were also injured, one being a passenger in Byrd’s vehicle, but reports have not yet revealed the extent of their injuries.
Byrd lived to the age of 50. He began playing football for the New York Jets as a defensive lineman back in 1989, but his career quickly came to a halt when he broke his neck in 1992, which had potentially crippled him for life. After being told that he may never walk again, Byrd slowly recovered after a year of physical therapy and shocked everyone as he walked out onto the New York Jets field during a game in 1993. Byrd was presented with the Most Inspirational Player Award that very day, Deadspin revealed.
NY Daily News reports that Byrd was traveling his 2004 Hummer H2 north of Claremore, Oklahoma on a state highway when a 2000 Ford Explorer driven by a 17-year-old traveled into Byrd’s lane and collided head-on.
The teenage driver of the Ford Explorer, as well as a 12-year-old passenger in Byrd’s vehicle, were both transported to the hospital in critical condition, according to USA Today.
Christophera Page recollects that tragic day when Byrd’s NFL career was ended. One November 29, 1992, Kansas City Chiefs and the Jets were playing a good game of football until a fumble changed the life of Dennis Byrd, the lineman and the Jets second-round draft pick. Suddenly, Byrd was laying silently on the ground.
Byrd had a broken vertebrae in his neck, and doctors did not give him a good prognosis at all; He may never use his legs again. But somehow, Bryd was able to prove the doctors wrong. With just three short months of extensive physical therapy, Bryd was walking with assistance. Bryd actually wrote a book called, Rise & Walk which described his whole experience and road to recovery in great detail.
Further, a movie starring Peter Berg, Kathryn Morris, and Wolfgang Bodison, was made based on the true story of Dennis Byrd and how he beat all odds after his extensive neck injury.
Tulsa athletic director Derrick Gragg expressed his condolences to Bryd’s family.
The Jet Press reveals that Byrd was born in Oklahoma. He attended the University of Tulsa. Byrd was drafted in the second round of the draft in 1989, being the overall 42nd pick.
Byrd was a talented pass rusher and played over three seasons with 27 sacks before he collided with Scott Mersereau during a game in 1992. The hit left Bryd paralyzed. While he beat the odds and began to walk again, Bryd became an inspiration to many people.
A memorable moment occurred prior to the 2010 Jets playoff game against the New England Patriots when Dennis Bryd gave the team an inspirational speech prior to giving them his game jersey. During the coin toss, the Jets carried Byrd’s jersey out with them to honor the former football player.
While great details have not yet been released on Dennis Byrd’s accident, more information will be provided as it becomes available. Thoughts and condolences go out to every single person in Byrd’s family, as well as his friends. Once we find out the conditions of the two minors involved in this tragic automobile accident, we will update this story.
One of Dennis Byrd’s famous quotes are, “See you little guys later.” You were an inspiration to us all, Dennis Byrd.
[Featured Image by Bill Kostroun/AP Images]