Arkansas Sports 360's Jim Harris, who was in the pressbox the night that North Little Rock football star Kenyana Tolbert suffered the injury that left him a quadriplegic, pays tribute today to Tolbert, who died Wednesday night. He'd barely survived medical complications in 2007, an episode with infections so severe that friends left the hospital believing he'd died.
A quadriplegic lives on borrowed time, it seems. One is reminded of Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss player who was paralyzed making a tackle in a game with Vanderbilt, and how he inspired so many afterward but lived less than two years after the injury.
From the moment Tolbert was injured making a tackle in his last regular-season football game for the Charging Wildcats in 1997, every day seen as a blessing, a relative said. He barely survived the actual hit, but he learned to adjust to his situation. Though he had no use of his arms or legs and breathed though a ventilator, he lived life the best he could. He received a college education from UALR. He adapted like all of us to the changing world of communication and would regularly email his friends through the next 11 and a half years.
Wednesday, Tolbert's battle ended in a local hospital. He was 29 years old.