Die Hard Cub Fan David Adams
Introduced to the Chicago Cubs at the young age of 7, David Adams has since led his life as a devoted, die-hard Cubs fan. In those younger years, most summer days were spent either playing ball in the yard with the neighborhood kids, with Dave always playing the role of Ryne Sandberg, his hero, or with tens of thousands of tennis balls thrown against the garage doors of the house with Dave working on his fielding technique. As he got a little older and had his own summer lawn mowing business, that usually had to wait until after the Cubs were done, so he could watch the games on WGN. There were occasional family trips to the ball park, sometimes to Chicago, or to Milwaukee if they were playing the Brewers. A couple of the more memorable trips included seeing Ryne Sandberg play at Wrigley Field on “Ryne Sandberg Day,” on September 20, 1997 and also a bus trip to Cooperstown with his dad, Tom, to see Ryno inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. As noted, Ryne was, and still is, Dave’s hero, because as Dave says, “He played the game of baseball, and more importantly, the game of life, the right way.”
In what was shaping up to be the greatest season yet for Cubs fans around the world, 2016 should have been Dave’s greatest year too. Dave grew more and more excited with each win, with the growing number of games separating the Cubs from the other teams in the National League. It was finally looking like it was “our year!” On the night of October 22, as the Cubs inched closer to clinching the National League pennant, Dave was in Boston with his wife, Holly, and friends for a mini-vacation. He excitedly was texting back home with his sister, Tricia, and his parents, Tom and Linda, counting the outs to the Cubs victory. The last text coming in with the final out made, “CUBS WIN!” 2016 World Series here we come!
In jubilant excitement and celebration after many long years of waiting and hoping for this moment, Dave dove into the swimming pool at the hotel he was staying in. Unfortunately, the pool was too shallow for his dive and this awesome moment turned very tragic for Dave and his entire family.
Dave fractured his C-4 vertebrae and severed his vertebral artery. After surgery to repair this major damage, Dave also suffered a stroke two days later due to swelling of his brain. He ultimately endured three major surgeries within six days and his prognosis was far from certain. Dave spent the next three weeks at Mass General Hospital in Boston in the Neuro ICU. Following that, he was airlifted to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), where he spent another fifteen weeks recovering and started rehab therapy. The C-4 spinal cord injury left him paralyzed below the neck and the stoke caused double vision and severe vertigo. When he arrived at RIC, he was unable to speak or move anything below his neck. With his strong will, stubbornness, positive attitude, and determination, as well as the great therapists working with him, he made phenomenal gains. He was also motivated to improve after a special visit from his hero, Ryne Sandberg! When he left RIC on February 22, four months post-accident, he was able to lift both legs, wiggle his toes, and had limited movement in both arms. His voice, while a bit distorted from months of having a trach tube in, was getting stronger, and his fun loving attitude was shining through.
Therapy hasn’t stopped since returning to his home in McFarland, WI. Family members have provided Dave and Holly with virtually 24/7 care to ensure that Dave continues to progress toward his goal of walking again and returning to work. Daily stretching and movement activities continue regardless of whether he has a scheduled out-patient therapy session. His hard work is paying off as he has gained both feeling and small movement in his fingers and his legs continue to grow stronger. Much like his hero Ryne, Dave is playing the game of life the right way. Despite being dealt a hand no one would ever wish for, he remains focused on his goals and is determined to overcome this life event. His attitude and faith have carried him a long way and we know that whatever God’s plan for Dave is, he will face the challenge head on, with strong, stubborn determination, much like the 2016 Chicago Cubs team!