Car crash changed his life forever, but Brad Fritz dedicates his time to helping save others

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune contributor

When Brad Fritz rolls into a room, he speaks volumes – and he does it without saying a word.

It’s because of the accident, which makes it difficult for him to speak at all. He uses a typing machine that talks for him, called a Lightwriter, which means his every word – a joke, a swear, etc. – comes out in a computer-sounding voice. Slowly, he will type, a letter at a time, and his words are read aloud by the machine.

At first people in the audience don’t know how to react. They’re a bit uncomfortable, even though Brad is smiling. It could be the wheelchair, or the way Brad’s past traumas are given away by his bent posture and shaky hand gestures. It makes sense – almost dying can leave behind that kind of evidence.

But then Brad starts typing/talking. “Ask me anything you want,” the computer voice says, slowly, as he keys in the words.

 

And usually, one by one, the audience gets more comfortable. They ask him about the accident, if he remembered being thrown from the car and hitting the tree. They ask him if later, when he’d realized his entire life had changed, if he wanted to die. And Brad always wins them over with his personality.

He tells them about graduating from Covington Catholic High, then from Thomas More College. 

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'I love my life as is': An NKY motivational speaker severely injured in 1999 is given new hope

Ryan Clark | WCPO contributor

7:00 AM, Nov 11, 2017

8:19 PM, Nov 21, 2017

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. -- In the end, if Brad Fritz gets his wish, stem cell treatments will allow him to walk again. And think clearly again.

His life will be changed. Again.

Fritz knows that the chances of him making a complete recovery may be remote considering all he's been through. Then again, the chances may be better than anyone knows.

No matter what, he says, there's a chance.

"This is all still so unbelievable and now it's almost here … it still doesn't seem real," says the 33-year-old Fritz, who lives in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.

Brad Fritz before his accident, which occurred in 1999.

Fritz is one of a dozen people across the country who have been chosen for an experimental stem cell treatment in Columbus, one that could help regrow parts of his damaged brain.

If it works.

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