My Dad on his birthday in the Hospital

Upon moving to Gainesville and going away to college my father and I drifted apart. Over the last year we have started talking again and things were on there way back to normal. This year I was selected to work the 2008 BCS Championship in Miami, Florida. The Gators were playing the Oklahoma Sooners and I managed to acquire two tickets for my friends or family members. I gave one to my girlfriend, Nicholina, and the other to my father. The day before the National Championship he decided that he could not make it and I needed to find someone else to give the ticket to. I did and we both talked the next day briefly before the game started. The Gators would go on to win the championship and made for an amazing experience and moment in my life to be there on the field but also with Nicholina.


The next day I traveled back home with the Gator Cheerleaders by bus and we made it in around 5 PM. I went over another mascot house that night to celebrate the victory and share stories from the game. Nicholina and I left her house at around 2:00 in the morning and went to bed. That was the last night that I've been able to get a good night's sleep.


I awoke Saturday morning to my brother banging on my door at 8:30 AM. He just got word that my dad had been in a terrible motorcycle accident on Friday night. My father was coming home from hanging out with his biker buddies and he went straight when he should have turned on the exit. His body flew into a lake and his friend, Freddie, jumped in and pulled him from the water. Freddie revived my dad using CPR but my dad's heart and lungs both stopped working again. Freddie continued to give him CPR until the paramedics arrived.


My brother, Nicholina, and I traveled down to Orlando to visit him as soon as we found out. Initially things were looking grim but he pulled through. He broke all of his ribs, died twice at the scene of the accident, both of his lungs collapsed, one of his lungs filled with blood, and still to this day he has no feeling, sensation, or movement from his bellybutton down.


It might seem like a lot but to my dad it has been a blessing in disguise. He feels that this event is only going to make us stronger as a family. He began his in-patient physically therapy and Rehab at Shands here in Gainesville about 3 weeks ago. He will leave the hospital for the first time since the accident on February 27th, 2009 and move in with me while he does the rest of his out-patient therapy here in Gainesville. My mother moved to Canada for her job three weeks ago as well and that is where my father will eventually relocate. I'm happy he's alive and to him and I both, that's all that matters.

Email Questions, Comments, Ideas, or Concerns to pedigo@ufl.edu