Man injured in car crash participates in Sweetheart Run - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Man injured in car crash participates in Sweetheart Run

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) – We often take for granted our ability to walk, talk, even eat but life can change in a second as a Colquitt County man found out six years ago. He was critically injured in a car crash at the age of 19, but he's living proof that you can do anything you put your mind to.

25-year old Burt Waites was in a car crash six years ago and was told he would never walk again.

Now, he's getting ready to participate in his second Annual Sweetheart Run.

A few days before Thanksgiving in 2005, Burt Waite's life took a drastic turn "I hit this curve down a dirt road, rolled my truck and that night I don't remember nothing else," he said.

But he does remember waking up in a hospital bed in Jacksonville, months after his accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash, which meant he could no longer eat, talk or walk. "I was in a wheelchair, I was dependant on everyone else I couldn't do nothing for myself," he said.

And doctors weren't optimistic about his future. "They said I would never be able to walk again, and I would never be able to do anything on my own again, that's what they told my momma," he said.

But it only takes a few minutes near Burt to understand nothing stands in his way. "When she told me that, I said they just don't know me," he said.

Burt started therapy in Tifton working on his speech and his physical capabilities. "I couldn't talk had to learn how to pronounce things all over again," he said.

Vickie Knight, a receptionist with rehabilitation services of Tifton took an instant liking to him. "He was in a wheelchair, he didn't speak to me and I instantly fell in love with Burt," she said.

But day by day he became more outgoing, and independent. "I didn't take very long before Burt tried to sign his own name in on the sign in sheet," she said.

He started in a wheelchair but progressed to a walker and now a cane is all he uses to get around. Last year he signed up for the Sweetheart run, an annual event put on by the Rehabilitation Services of Tifton. "I did it in 27 minutes," he said.

Now he goes out two times a week and walks around the sweetheart track with a friend. "The quickest I've done it was 21 and a half minutes," he said.

Which is an inspiration to all, "Burt makes you feel like there is nothing that you can't do," she said.

Proof that when it comes to this 25-year olds future, the sky is the limit.

Burt is hoping this year he can walk the track in the Sweetheart run in about 20 minutes. If you would like to join him, that event will be held in Tifton on February 12th.

If you'd like to sign up for the sweetheart run, or need more information click here

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