Tim and OlaThe Closing General Session and Awards Ceremony for SCUCE included a remarkable story of courage and tenacity. Timothy Alexander, character coach for University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Football and Women’s Basketball, has faced obstacles that would cause most people to simply give up. Timothy took that adversity, combined it with irrepressible determination, and recovered from a car accident that caused him to break his neck and flatline in the hospital.

Timothy began his inspirational speech with a quote from Warren Buffet: “You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.” It’s that integrity that drives his life and carried him through losing a brother who had been the paternal role model in his life and seeing the end of his dreams of football stardom.

It was just after his older brother saved then high-school aged Timothy from a house fire that he realized his older brother’s vision for him as a standout on the gridiron. While they were in a hotel room as refuge from the fire, Timothy’s brother told him of his dream the previous night — he saw his younger brother becoming a successful NFL football player with the wherewithal to take care of his family. The next day, the brother who had been like a father to him died.

Timothy went on to have the best football season of his life and was one of the best players in the state of Alabama. Just as Timothy saw himself on the road to achieving his dreams, he was injured in the car accident that changed his life. Timothy fought his way back from a broken neck and a traumatic brain injury, regaining movement in his upper body.

Unable even to drink, Timothy said he learned to be thankful for the little things, like simply swallowing a drop of water. And he says excellence comes in being thankful for the little things.

Through his courageous pursuit of his goals, Timothy became the first paraplegic in Division 1 history to earn a full college ride.

He now shares with others the importance of why you should “get your mind right” and tells players, you can walk on the field one day and roll of the next day. Life can change just that quickly.

He goes on to say you can’t find an “i” in team, but you can find it in “Win.”

“We don’t need it to be easy; we just need it to be possible,” Timothy said.

His analogy of the difference between 211 degrees — hot water — and 212 — boiling water — illustrates the extra steam if you give that added degree of strength. That’s what it takes to change your life.