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Creative Living

Life Changing Accident

I was pledging to a fraternity at Otterbein College, during the 2nd quarter of my freshman year, at age 19. There was a 20 yard stretch of mud in our back yard that was at least 6” deep. The activity was to run and dive across this mud like you were stealing 2nd base Pete Rose style (head first) in a “Superman flying” position. No alcohol involved; it was just a fun thing to do. Unfortunately for me, I swam competitively and was instructed to tuck my chin to my chest when I dove off the blocks at the start of a race, to keep my goggles on. So whether I dove into a pool, a lake, or an ocean, I always tucked my chin to my chest out of habit. When I dove across the mud, I tucked my chin as always and the back of the crown of my head hit the ground first, my head stopped, and my momentum carried my body over it and as I flipped completely on my back, my 6th cervical vertebrae shattered and severely damaged my spinal cord.

About Me

I’m a counseling psychologist by trade. I counsel individuals at Vineyard Church of Columbus and co-lead a depression/anxiety support group. As for my free time, I enjoy reading anything from history to fantasy, watching all kinds of movies, and going out to authentic, ethnic restaurants with friends. I also love nature and get out in it as much as my wheelchair and free time will allow.

My Dreams & Aspirations

I intend to go back to school again (sigh) to get a Master’s in Divinity or Christian Counseling, so I can actually get paid for the counseling I’ve been doing the last 11 years. I will likely continue to work with wherever community service leads me…I’ve done it all my life! I do want to move into at least a condominium or loft, preferably close to downtown. Creative Living has been a safe, welcoming, affordable, and accessible environment. It is unique in that there’s no other housing with 24/7 resident assistance, independent living, and a location that is filled with opportunities and the services a quadriplegic requires. If I weren’t in CL, my life would be focused on paying for housing primarily, I’d be driving an 18 yr old van and hoping that it would continue to hold together, and most likely be in an entry level position praying that I would remain employed. I’m confident that I would be fine, but I would not be fulfilling a purpose that I believe I was created for.

What CL Means to Me

This world was not created for someone with my disability. However, Creative Living was built exclusively for me and those who share similar disabilities. For every effort of support towards Creative Living, your actions are certainly a blessing for all the residents, but they also make a statement. They also state that the residents belong here in this society, that we are valued, and are worthy of the opportunity of making a difference in this world.

Brad Eldridge, Creative Living resident