In Memory of Francis Micheli

Francis Micheli

Francis Micheli

Taken from ProPlayersInider.com

Written by Melissa Mahler

It is with great sadness I write that ProPlayerInsiders has lost a member of its family, Francis Micheli. Francis was an inspiration to us and to everyone he touched. This past Sunday, Francis was struck by a car while he was walking from the Met Life Sports Complex to the parking lot after enjoying the New York Giants game.  He was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center and subsequently died from his injuries.

On June 6, 2009 Francis said, “I began a new life.  A life of challenges I could never imagine, and filled with priceless insight I could only wish for.” Francis wasn’t talking about receiving a college scholarship, a trip or a job offer. He was talking about the “second chance at life” he received following a car accident which almost killed him.

“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.”
~Vince Lombardi

When the accident occurred, Francis had just finished his freshman year at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and was looking forward to transferring to Life University in Marietta, Ga., to study Chiropractic and Sports Medicine. On the drive home Francis fell asleep and hit a tree in the median on I-81, 15 miles south of a hotel he had booked to spend the night in Roanoke. He was admitted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital with major injuries to his head and torso: traumatic brain injury, a diffused axon injury, collapsed lungs, a broken collar bone and scapula, and his jaw broken in four places.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

After four months in a coma, Francis awoke with no memory of the accident or his trip to Georgia.  His once 190 pound athletic frame had shrunk to a mere 120 pounds and was being held together by a series of metal plates and screws interspersed with tubes, wires and other monitors to keep him alive.  He had to learn to walk, talk, breath, swallow and remember all over again.

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

~ Alexander Graham Bell

Francis didn’t spend a minute staring at a closed door. “I will think about all the wonderful people and the selfless things done by them to help me and see the glass as half full,” said Francis.  It’s that attitude that inspired me, and everyone, that had the privilege of knowing him.  He wasn’t bitter. He didn’t expect or want special treatment. He wanted to help others and use his “second chance” to make the world better for those he had the ability to reach and, maybe even more importantly, give others the courage to believe in themselves.

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable … Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

~ E.E. Cummings

Bob Woodruff was someone that helped Francis believe in himself and was motivated to help others with TBI. Francis wrote, “I was fortunate enough to meet and become good friends with a well-known news correspondent and TBI survivor, Bob Woodruff. The time with Bob, coupled with the extensive physical therapy I received, motivated me to become a certified personal trainer so I can help others.”  While reporting on the war in Iraq, Bob nearly died from a roadside bomb. He survived, but suffered a TBI from the blast.

“Francis was a shining light that was getting brighter week by week. He (like many others) was an important participant in our TBI programs and was adopted as a family member. His energy and determination will be missed but never forgotten,” wrote  Mark L. Gordon, M.D., Medical Director of Millennium-TBI Center in an email after learning of Francis’ death. Millennium-TBI is naming their annual recognition award the Francis Micheli Joy of Life Award which will be given to any organization or individual who excels in dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury.

Francis Micheli w Mom Gridiron Chef

Francis Micheli with his mother

I would always smile when I received an email from Francis sharing his latest accomplishment or article he had written about conditioning and improving the body.  His monthly column for ProPlayerInsiders offered his advice on how to train like a professional athlete in a way that encouraged not intimidated.  He recently shared with me his dream of becoming a physical therapist so that he could one day “give back the care” that he had received following his accident.  Never one to sit back on his dreams, Francis recently entered a contest that awarded college scholarships to the winners.

To call on the words of Rose Kennedy, God gave Francis many gifts: spirit, beauty, intelligence, the capacity to make friends and inspire.  There was only one gift He held back – length of life.  I can hear Francis reminding us to focus on the many gifts he had received and not the one he hadn’t.

“This journey is not over. My losses were temporary. My gains are permanent.”

~ Francis Micheli

With much love and admiration we thank you Francis for sharing your story and inspiring us.  We know your journey is not over and your many gains are permanent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:14-16

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Intrepid Fallen Hero’s Fund 

Please make checks payable to the The Intrepid Fallen Hero’s Fund and include a note that it is given in Francis Micheli’s honor. Mail all donations to

The Intrepid Fallen Hero’s Fund

Mr Arnold Fisher

Fisher Brothers

299 Park Ave

New York, NY 10171

Visitation, Friday, November 29  at 3:00PM-7:00PM
 

Coxe and Graziano Funeral Home

767 East Boston Post Road

Mamaroneck, NY 10543

Mass, Saturday, November 30 at 11:00AM
 

Resurrection RC Church

910 Boston Post Road

Rye, NY 10580

Kevin Reilly – Motivation in 3 Minutes

One more motivational story from Kevin Reilly. Playing for his hometown team, The Philadelphia Eagles, and feeling on top of the world as the captain of the special teams, Kevin Reilly  ran out of the tunnel on game day to the Steelers AstroTurf. During that game, in a brutal collision with a fellow opponent, his shoulder was injured. The events after the injury were unexpected and devastating. Scar tissue formed, which progressed to Desmoid scar tissue, and a tumor was strangling his blood vessels and organs. The doctors operated to save his life; a radical Forequarter Amputation left Kevin with no left arm, no shoulder and five of his ribs.

Until next time, Chrissy Carew

Founder and Head Coach, Insightful Player, LLC
To Follow me on Twitter, go to http://Twitter.com/InsightfulPlayr

Who Is That Man? Why Kids Are Sporting Fake Beards?

Pittsburg Steelers Brett Kiesel D99 Beard Teammates, coaches, his son Jacob and even Steelers’ chairman Dan Rooney could not believe it. Coach Mike Tomlin cheered on. His own daughter asked, “Who is that man?” The man Grace was looking at, with the outmost disbelief, was her father; the D99 of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brett Kiesel, a mountain of a man with a mammoth unrestricted beard. The NFL great sponsors the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Wing as his favorite charity. The beard became a symbol of hope and a sign of affection for the cancer affected kids in the hospital. The charity is the annual event: “Shear Da Beard”.

To the blasting tune of the classic rock song “Renegade” (which is the anthem song of the Pittsburgh defense), surrounded by countless fans all gathered at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, one by one the celebrities on hand took turns clipping the defensive end’s beard during this 3rd Annual “Shear Da Beard” event. To the cheering on fans, a clean-shaven Keisel took the stage to “Sharp Dressed Man,” unrecognizable to many, including his two-year old daughter Grace. He thanked the fans for their participation, coming out again in such droves to support such a great cause. The “Shear Da Beard” benefits the cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC, with the money going towards the continued research the hospital does, as well as various programs. Pittsburg Steelers Brett Kiesel D99 Clean shaved

“Brett’s beard really has taken on a life of its own, and Shear Da Beard has become a great annual event to support cancer programs and research at Children’s Hospital,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “We’re extremely grateful to Brett, and more importantly to his wife Sarah for letting him grow the beard back each season.”  Keisel recently had the chance to spend time with kids on the cancer and oncology floor, a visit that was uplifting and emotional at the same time. The idea to shave it the last three years to benefit Children’s Hospital’s cancer programs arose because of his friendship with former teammate Aaron Smith, whose son Elijah was treated for leukemia at the hospital. Smith was on hand at the event with Elijah, both of them taking their turn to cut off a hunk of the beard.

Kiesel had plenty of help, as one by one, Steelers’ players and coaches including Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Cameron Heyward and Charlie Batch stepped onto the stage of Jergel’s Rhythm Grille to snip a slice of Keisel’s humongous whiskers. Pittsburgh’s best-known beard is gone. What is left behind is a feeling of love and affection, the unforgettable memory of the event, a clean shaved Brett Kiesel and a lot of cash to support the cause.

Here is to the “Shear Da Beard” D99 Pittsburgh Steelers Brett Kiesel and to all kids sporting a fake beard at the UPMC!!!

Until next time, Chrissy Carew

Founder and Head Coach, Insightful Player, LLC
To Follow me on Twitter, go to http://Twitter.com/InsightfulPlayr

Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/09/very-important-person-doesnt-recognize-nfl-player-brett-keisel-after-he-shaves-off-his-beard-for-charity

http://www.steelers.com/video-and-audio/videos/Keisel_Visits_Childrens_Hospital/0bab348d-c645-4e39-ac35-bf28eabb8cbf

http://www.steelers.com/video-and-audio/videos/Shear-Da-Beard-2013/2202940c-11c5-4837-aeba-e06ab726de28http://www.steelers.com/video-and-audio/videos/Shear-Da-Beard-2013/2202940c-11c5-4837-aeba-e06ab726de28

Kevin Reilly -A Story of Inspiration

An Inspirational story. Playing for his hometown team, The Philadelphia Eagles, and feeling on top of the world as the captain of the special teams, Kevin Reilly  ran out of the tunnel on game day to the Steelers AstroTurf. During that game, in a brutal collision with a fellow opponent, his shoulder was injured. The events after the injury were unexpected and devastating. Scar tissue formed, which progressed to Desmoid scar tissue, and a tumor was strangling his blood vessels and organs. The doctors operated to save his life; a radical Forequarter Amputation left Kevin with no left arm, no shoulder and five of his ribs.

Until next time, Chrissy Carew

Founder and Head Coach, Insightful Player, LLC
To Follow me on Twitter, go to http://Twitter.com/InsightfulPlayr

Kevin Reilly: Transformed Tragedy in to an Inspiring, Purpose Driven Life

Reilly_KevinDuring times when you feel the despair of unfortunate circumstances in your life taking over, Kevin Reilly is there to lift your spirits with his inspiring life, which was transformed by his great tragedy. Who is Kevin Reilly? Is he just another ex-NFL player, amputee and cancer survivor? Oh, no. He is the one that went from “third and long to first and goal.” Playing for his hometown team, The Philadelphia Eagles, and feeling on top of the world as the captain of the special teams, he ran out of the tunnel on game day to the Steelers AstroTurf. During that game, in a brutal collision with a fellow opponent, his shoulder was injured. The events after the injury were unexpected and devastating. Scar tissue formed, which progressed to Desmoid scar tissue, and a tumor was strangling his blood vessels and organs. The doctors operated to save his life; a radical Forequarter Amputation left Kevin with no left arm, no shoulder and five of his ribs.

He accepted the support of a football friend, who had his own suffering, and he found a compelling reason to have a great life, regardless his dark reality. The doctors were proven wrong about his definite limitations, forecasted then. Kevin Reilly was back to work within two months, having since a wonderful career (recently retired after 30 years) with Xerox. Now he is working as the first handicapped broadcaster in the NFL with similar careers in College Sports. He astonishes his fans by his ability to tie his own tie, play golf with one hand and racquetball as a non-handicapped player, in addition to completing six half and one full marathon!!!

Kevin is resilient. He has faced many adversities, but did not let them consume him. When his marriage broke up, his Catholic faith, an unsurpassed will, and support from loved ones pulled him through. When it was obvious that he had an issue with alcohol, he joined AA and moved on to a new journey with a life of sobriety.

Kevin Reilly may have lost some in his battle with cancer, but he gained a lot in understanding what it takes to survive. He now enjoys being a motivational speaker, who connects with his audience in many personal ways. He is enlightening, inspirational and entertaining. He believes that the man who wins is the man who thinks he can win. He is a tremendous support to the amputee soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.  Most importantly, he gives others a reason to smile, especially during days when it seems hardest to hold on.

Kevin supports the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, and he will participate in their annual 5K Run while also funding research to answer more questions about this tumor. “There is no such thing as magic, but there are miracles; you’ve just got to believe!” -Kevin Reilly.

Here is to my Hall of Fame Insightful Player Kevin Reilly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw71jth9lJw

Until next time, Chrissy Carew

Founder and Head Coach, Insightful Player, LLC
To Follow me on Twitter, go to http://Twitter.com/InsightfulPlayr