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Old 03-01-2006, 09:44 PM   #1
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THE WRECK STORY FROM NEWSPAPER

THIS IS THE STORY OF IT ALL, I COPIED AND PASTED FROM MY TOWN PAPER




Back from the brink

College Station man uses humor, family support to recover after crash




By all accounts, Iraq war veteran Chris Symons shouldn't be around to celebrate Christmas this year.



Chris Symons said he believes it was a miracle he survived his motorcycle wreck - losing just an arm and a leg. He credits his father, Lyle, his brother, Keith, and his mother, Barbara - along with his innate sense of humor - for helping him after the accident.
In fact, he has no doubt that still being alive is nothing short of a miracle. On Nov. 13, he lay lifeless on the side of a road, his left arm ripped from his 23-year-old body, his left leg split open from hip to ankle.

But it wasn't a Saddam Hussein loyalist, a roadside bomber or a terrorist who stole away the man's two left limbs. The thief came in the form of a collision between his Triumph 600 motorcycle and an oncoming Ford F-250 pickup on Texas 105 near Navasota.

Chris is the first to point out the irony of his accident.

"I go to Iraq and come back without a scratch," he said. "Then I buy a bike, and this happens."

That sunny day in November was a Sunday not unlike most. The Symons men - brothers Chris and Keith, and their father, Lyle - left from College Station in the morning, destined for a bike show in Houston.

The three cruised down Texas 6 to Navasota, where they connected with two-lane Texas 105. Most of the time, they rode side-by-side, enjoying the country view, the fresh air and the sun.

Approaching a minivan traveling about 70 mph, Chris decided to pass, a common maneuver for the experienced rider on a bike built for speed, Lyle said. But the series of events that followed forever changed the lives of Chris and those close to him.

Lyle vividly recalls the accident, which has been burned into his mind. After Chris passed the van, he stayed in the lane of oncoming traffic and slowed down.

"Then I saw the red truck," Lyle said. "I had a flash of anger."

He thought his son was just playing with danger a bit too much. But Lyle soon realized that his son didn't see the pickup cruising toward them, and the driver didn't see his son. At the very last instant, the two drivers began to swerve, but Chris' Triumph slammed into the Ford.

"The bike just exploded. There was no motorcycle anymore," Lyle said. "It sprayed into a thousand pieces."

Lyle and Keith had to dodge the engine of Chris' bike, which had been launched back at them. They stopped as quickly as they could, and Lyle found his son lying on the side of the road. He seemed to be dead.

Chris' tongue was hanging out of his mouth like a dead deer's on the side of the highway, Lyle said. His skin was an eerie shade of gray, his left leg was barely recognizable and he wasn't breathing.

Lyle collapsed on his son and began to wail. By then, the reality of the situation seemed more like a nightmare than anything else. Lyle lost track of time. Just 20 or 30 seconds of crying on his son's body felt more like a half-hour, he said.

But moments after the accident occurred, an off-duty emergency medical technician was on the scene, asking what she could do to help. Lyle told her to call 911 for an ambulance to come take his son's body away.

"He's dead," Lyle said.

But when they looked back at Chris, his chest was heaving as he gasped for air. The grayness of death had been replaced by the color of life.

Other drivers began to stop and offer help. One made a makeshift tourniquet from a bungee cord. Another retrieved the severed arm that had landed yards away.

Chris was floating in and out of consciousness.

"We were holding him," Lyle said. "He wanted to roll around because he was in so much pain."

Soon after, an ambulance arrived. Medics moved Chris into the mobile transport, where they waited for a helicopter ambulance that would take him to the trauma center at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

Police at the accident site offered to drive Lyle and Keith, but the two decided to ride their cycles directly to the hospital. They stopped once for gas and shared a bottle of water. It was then that Lyle called his wife, Barbara, to tell her their son had been in an accident.

She was told that Chris had broken his leg and was on his way to the hospital. A few weeks earlier, she'd gotten a call that her other son, Keith, had been in an accident on his motorcycle.

"It's a sick feeling, whether someone just had a scratch or worse," she said.

But she knew that her husband wouldn't tell her the full story over the phone.

"I knew Lyle would lie to me if it was bad," she said.

Barbara raced to pick up Chris' fiancee, Joanna Florida, and get to the hospital.

When she and Florida arrived, they learned the full extent of Chris' injuries. He was conscious and able to recognize people, and before he went into surgery, Chris asked his wife-to-be for a kiss.

Then, all they could do was wait.

A critical time

When the doctors first came out of surgery, they said Chris wasn't doing well, his parents recalled. They told the Symons family that Chris had lost a lot of blood, his blood pressure had dropped and they needed to remove his injured leg to possibly save his life. Without hesitation, the Symonses approved the procedure, hoping to save their son.

Chris took 30 units of blood and eight units of plasma, his mother said, and when the doctors came back with an update, they said his chances were good if he could survive the next 48 hours.

In the waiting room, the Symonses and Florida watched families cope with death while others escaped its grasp. When Chris cleared that two-day window, they experienced their first of many victories to come.

But they knew life would be different, and as Chris moved forward through his stay at the hospital and subsequent rehabilitation, he was always flanked by a loved one.

Long road ahead


Chris is learning how to get around using only his right arm until he can be fitted for prosthetics next year.
The Symonses found a short-term lease on an apartment in Houston so Chris would never be alone. During the first part of his rehab, Chris and his family underwent training at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston, where he stayed until last week.

Chris was an impressive patient, his therapists said.

"I don't think this is going to slow him down at all," said Suzanne Krenek, his occupational therapist. "The other thing we saw was the great support from his family and his friends. A lot of times the mental and physical support can make or break rehab."

Chris is quick to credit the tremendous support from his family, his friends and his fiancee, whom he calls his rock.

"If I didn't have their help in the hospital ..." he stopped, his eyes welling with tears.

Chris' roommate at the rehab institute - a quadriplegic - had only one visitor while they shared a room.

"A lonely mind can think about a lot of things," he said. "There's no way I could have gone through all of that without my family and friends."

The Symons family had prepared for a long initial stint at the rehab center. They'd seen other patients who'd made good progress - in a year's time. But Chris approached his therapy vigilantly.

"We were all told that it would be months and months," Barbara said. "Then they said he could go home for the holidays."

He's done all there was to do until his injuries completely heal, his therapists said. The next step for Chris is to be fitted for prosthetics, which likely will happen in February.

Laughing to cope

Chris says that in high school he was the class clown, and things haven't changed all that much. He still likes to laugh and make other people laugh.

Even after the accident, nobody could accuse Chris of losing his sense of humor. His family has taken to calling him "FORD," an acronym for "found on road dead." Chris, who loves tattoos, says he had 12 before the accident, but now he only has 10 1/2. He's already been to his local tattoo parlor to ask for a discount to replace those he lost in the accident. And he wants to change the one on his back from "You only live once" to "You only live once twice."

Chris likes to sport a T-shirt given to him by his close friend that reads "I bought this shirt and it only cost me an arm and a leg."

"I like to make people laugh," he said. "Like this shirt - it may make some people feel uncomfortable, but it makes me laugh."

He said his new body is what it is, that it was 's intention and that he's making the best of it. And make no mistake, he says, he will be back on a motorcycle.

"I plan on getting back on a bike," he said. "It may be a year or two, but it will happen."

Keith said he's looking forward to riding with his brother again.

"We don't always have time to hang out together," he said. "But we always make time to ride."

The accident hasn't kept Keith and Lyle off their bikes, and Chris said he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I'm happy they still ride," he said. "I think it's good."

Christmas as usual

While life for the Symonses has been anything but normal since that fateful Nov. 13, they say it's Christmas as usual this year.

"We're happy he's home," Lyle said. "We're happy he's alive."

Chris said he planned to follow his normal Christmas Day routine, which includes a morning with just his fiancee, and then trips to his and her parents' houses, and visits to the grandparents.

Every day brings new challenges, and they can be frustrating, Chris said, but he can only move forward.

"To be alive is a miracle. This isn't just a luck thing," he said. "The reason I can handle this so well is because I believe in strongly, and he let me make a choice. I can be OK with it, and I can make jokes about it. has a plan for all of this."

Last edited by Gimpin2Fold; 03-01-2006 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:49 PM   #2
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wow ! :notworthy man ur cool :notworthy keep it up! :notworthy
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:21 PM   #3
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Words can't express the stregnth you posses. has truely been good in your life. I'm also glad to see that you have a real woman in your life, most women would not have stuck around. Thank for real women that Love us, and also are our best friends. It's good that you like to joke for in the Bible the Lord did say, " The joy of the Lord is your strength." Outstanding Bro. I call a few people a Class Act and really mean it, but if awards were given out - hands down you would truely get the Class Act of the decade award. Now I have another person that I will always keep in my daily prayers.
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:30 PM   #4
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well thank you for your comments BIGC, and i tell you what, i always thought the me and my wife would be there for one another no matter what, but to see her be there for me after all this.... i can't put it in to words, i thought i loved her before the wreck more than ever, but after all this, i cant believe shes still here. blessed me with a wonderful woman and i thank him everyday for her. i cant begin to tell you what she is to me....if i did, i know it would be longer then that story. btw, thanks for the award. lol
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Old 03-01-2006, 11:18 PM   #5
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lol........outstanding
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:19 AM   #6
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:13 AM   #7
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had a couple pms asking what happen to me, here it is
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:33 AM   #8
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WOW! Amazing survival story. I was kinda wondering about this too--so, I'm glad you posted it.

Your story is a great example of how a positive attitude and belief in can help you to cope and overcome any situation.

Did this just happen last November?? I'd be curious to hear a little more about your recent progress with prosthetic devices. I've spent a little time in the places where they make those and see people going in and out with them. You can pm me that if you want.

Keep up the good work. obviously has great plans for your life!
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:34 AM   #9
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when I read it off your myspace I got goose bumps and teared up. I am glad to know that you are still alove after all that!!!
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:46 AM   #10
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Hey Chris, glad you made it through this.
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerBarbie
WOW! Amazing survival story. I was kinda wondering about this too--so, I'm glad you posted it.

Your story is a great example of how a positive attitude and belief in can help you to cope and overcome any situation.

Did this just happen last November?? I'd be curious to hear a little more about your recent progress with prosthetic devices. I've spent a little time in the places where they make those and see people going in and out with them. You can pm me that if you want.

Keep up the good work. obviously has great plans for your life!
yes, it was last november.

can u be more specific in your ?s
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ARM1LEG
yes, it was last november.

can u be more specific in your ?s
Have you been fit for your prostetics?? arm and leg?? If you have, how has it been learning how to use them? Personally, I find it so interesting that the electrical impulses from your braincan control stuff like that.

If I'm being too nosey, tell me to myob.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerBarbie
Have you been fit for your prostetics?? arm and leg?? If you have, how has it been learning how to use them? Personally, I find it so interesting that the electrical impulses from your braincan control stuff like that.

If I'm being too nosey, tell me to myob.
i have i wear the leg everyday, the arm, not so much, i can do everything i need to do one-handed, so i dont really need the other arm, but the leg is vital, it doesnt go by my brain, it goes by my movement, it isa computerized, it pretty cool.
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Old 08-05-2006, 05:07 AM   #14
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Old 08-05-2006, 08:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ARM1LEG
i have i wear the leg everyday, the arm, not so much, i can do everything i need to do one-handed, so i dont really need the other arm, but the leg is vital, it doesnt go by my brain, it goes by my movement, it isa computerized, it pretty cool.
It goes by your movement?? So, somehow it can sense when you're walking? Can you go up stairs and stuff?? Was it hard to learn how to use?
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Old 08-05-2006, 10:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
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It goes by your movement?? So, somehow it can sense when you're walking? Can you go up stairs and stuff?? Was it hard to learn how to use?

yes, it can tell what kinda movement im making and adjust to help me walk a little better. yes, i can go up stairs.....one step at a time, but i can go down foot over foot.. it was hard to use, i had to learn to walk again, plus the good foot i got left, wasnt really in that good of shape (tore my akelies tendon 80%). so yes it was hard.
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:11 AM   #17
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, glad you are ok. Wife sounds like a great person
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Old 08-08-2006, 02:36 PM   #18
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Man.. when i read that, i wonder how hard the impact was to rip a limb off. That's crazy man, you're the bionic man now
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:22 PM   #19
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Amazing story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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Old 08-26-2006, 01:30 PM   #20
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