Growing up, my two older brothers and I learned two things; how to better our relationship with God and how to play sports. If we weren’t in church, we were on a field or on a court. That trend continued all the way through high school, where I played soccer, basketball, and baseball. After high school I played a couple years of college basketball at a small Christian college. During that time me, my brothers, and friends got involved in flag football. We played in a huge local league in Jacksonville, Florida and after our first game we realized that we were pretty good. We ended up playing every chance we could and our team traveled all over the United States to play in different events. Before we knew it we were nationally ranked and known as one of the best teams in the nation. We won thousands of dollars, appeared on television several times, and had the chance to play with NFL stars. That lasted about 10 years until that one infamous day in July of 2010, when a routine play was thought to sideline me for life.
While playing an opposing player fell on top of me causing me to break my neck in two different places; c3 & c4. I suffered a severe spinal cord injury and was instantly paralyzed from the neck down. This was when my faith in God took over the entire situation. Even after hearing the doctors say that I would probably never walk again I never lost faith in God. My wife, of 3 years at that time, was told her husband had no feeling from the neck down and would be a functional quadriplegic at best. That’s not something a 26 year-old woman wants to hear about her husband, but she never lost faith in God either. She stood strong and knew God had bigger plans for our lives.
Within days God’s marvelous hands performed a miracle on my body and three weeks later I took my first steps. Even though I still suffered from paralysis I wasn’t content with just walking. After two years of therapy and building my body back to somewhat normal I did the unthinkable. I stepped back on the flag football field and played in a national tournament. I wasn’t able to do the same things I did before, but still, my team somehow found a way to win the tournament.
After being paralyzed, winning another national tournament was a monumental step for me. After the tournament, news had got around about me playing and winning. I started getting Facebook messages and emails from people I didn’t even know telling me how I’ve inspired them to overcome their fears. It was so overwhelming. So many people were calling me their hero. I don’t think of myself as a hero. I never have. It’s hard to look at yourself and think like that. For me, I was just playing flag football. But I do understand why people call me their hero. I get it! I am willing to embrace the whole thing. If people look at me and get inspired then I’m all for that. I didn’t really have a great reason for wanting to play flag football again, but after receiving the response I received I knew why I played. The comment that Bethany Hamilton’s character made in the movie, Soul Surfer was spot on to me,
“I wouldn’t change what happened to me, because then I wouldn’t have this chance. This chance to touch more lives than I ever could’ve imagined.”
I would love to share my story with millions of people around the world. God has done so much in my life and for me. I want to share it with others. I also feel like I owe it to everyone who isn’t as fortunate as me. Who has to do deal with the confinement of a wheelchair. I was given a second chance at life and I’m trying to do the best I can to live that out. That’s what’s prompted me to start the Tim Callahan Foundation.
My foundation is a non-profit foundation based in Jacksonville, FL. The sole purpose of the foundation is for kids to get inspiration and faith through my story. To also better young athletes in their respected sport. The foundation will host FREE sports camps for boys & girls ages 5-15. We will offer a variety of sports camps from softball, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, volleyball, etc. We will also provide coaching from accomplished athletes and coaches (professional or collegiate) to teach the kids fundamentals as well as proper stretching techniques. The camps will be one or two days depending on registration. I am dedicating myself to this foundation and have left my job of 7 years to follow this calling. I’m so excited to think about what the future holds for my wife and I.
Donations are greatly appreciated. For information on how to donate please visit the Donations page on the website.