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Paralyzed track coach walks and wins again

NEED TO KNOW
  • Coach Beverly Kearney is the first African-American head coach at University of Texas
  • She's led UT Women’s track team to 6 NCAA championships
  • After car crash, Kearney defied doctor’s expectations

More than a decade ago while driving to Disney World, Beverly Kearney was badly injured in a car accident. Two of her friends died and Kearney was thrown more than 50 feet from the vehicle. She suffered a skull fracture and extensive spinal damage. After multiple surgeries, she was told by doctors that she would never walk again.

“When they told me I was paralyzed it went in one ear and out the next,” Kearney said. “I never doubted for one moment that I was going to walk.” 

The decorated University of Texas head women’s track coach continued to lead her team from a hospital bed. Track practices were filmed and athletes would walk to Kearney’s hospital to review their tapes after dinner.

“People ask me how I could coach from a hospital bed. You know paralyzed and in pain … I coach from my heart,” she said.

After years of therapy, Kearns defied expectations and learned to walk again. “It’s all about where your point of origin is from … most people focus on what’s gone bad, I focus on what good is coming next.” 

Kearney has made even larger strides in the world of college sports. She’s the first African-American head coach at UT, “I received so much opposition …that I stopped trying to figure out where it was coming from. I didn’t know if it was because I was black, female or because I wanted to be successful, so I had to figure out how to dodge bullets, watch my back and succeed -- but I never lost sight of winning.” 

Under her leadership she’s led the Texas women’s track team to six NCAA championships. She has also won National Coach of the Year five times. 

“After all that I have been through in my life every experience has been the foundation that has created an unwavering, unshakeable faith that all things are possible,” Kearney said. 

To learn more about UT women's track Coach Beverly Kearney and how she is using her story to inspire others, please visit: bevkearneypursuitofdreams.com.

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