He played with a football as he talked.
He was clearly in pain, and you could see how easy it was for him to flip back four years to his dream job, playing football for the NFL Buffalo Bills.
His demeanor was one of resolve and inner strength, as he revealed that he is in constant pain, with some days worse than others.
Kevin Everett saunters slowly, and every movement is calculated. As he signs autographs, his hand trembles a little. Pictures and conversations make him appear exhausted.
Agora staff reporter Lorrie Mayzlin sat down with Kevin Everett an hour before he took the stage at MCCC to talk about his experiences as a football player who was seriously injured and is now a motivational speaker.
LM: If there is one positive thing you could find to summarize your life now, what would it be?
KE: I have a strong faith, I am very optimistic. I can do this, and help others who struggle.
LM: If you had the opportunity for a “do-over” in life, would you?
KE: No. I’ve accomplished all my goals so far in life—but I am still working toward new goals.
LM: What is the single-most important impression you would want to impart on others?
KE: I would like to impart that you should never give up on life. Life is always going to be tough, but you learn to deal with the tough times. I am living proof, you can overcome.
LM: There are many motivational speakers out there; what makes your journey and your message unique?
KE: I am unique because I have been someplace and I am starting all over again. I have a new view and take on life. Some motivational speakers have never had to experience both sides of life – from before they could walk, talk, and do everything to not being able to do anything after an accident or sickness. I have done both.
LM: What one lesson have you learned so far in your journey?
KE: I have learned that you’ve got to maintain your faith in good times and in bad times.
LM: Do you think it was a miracle that brought you to the MCCC campus today?
KE: Yes and no. I think it was divine intervention now because one week before my injury, the doctors had used the stadium for a seminar and training for spinal procedures, and one week later in the same stadium, I was the first person they had used them on. They had the cold saline in the ambulance that they started giving me on IV to ready me for surgery at the hospital. I believe that the reason my spinal injury helped me beat the odds is because the paramedics were right there for me, and God was there telling me it would be ok and that I should relax.
LM: Is there anything special that you’re doing with your experience besides motivational speaking?
KE: I started the Kevin Everett Foundation to help others who are low income and can’t afford things they need, like wheel chairs, ramps, etc.
LM: How do you raise money for this foundation.
KE: We take donations and do fundraisers, and the money I get from doing speeches helps the foundation.
Everett’s willingness to share his life with strangers is admirable, but his story is told best with his eyes and body language. While he carries himself well, his eyes make it clear that he misses being who he used to be.