“You have a broken neck.” You are paralyzed from the neck down.” “You will never walk again.” Those three statements altered the course of Brian Ziegler's life forever. No matter what you are going through, this book will unequivocally change the way you view Jesus and the way He answers our “desperate prayers.” Be prepared! This is not your average Christian memoir… It is raw, real and authentic. Brian holds nothing back in this remarkable story of God's ultimate plan to rebuild each one of us in His own image.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
BRIAN ZIEGLER (Malone University) is a Church Planter and Evangelist in Northeast Ohio. Brian and his wife Suzie are passionate about investing in their two most important disciples, their son Gage and daughter Kaymen.
Read an Excerpt
A Paralyzing Redemption
One Man's Journey from Basketball Stardom to Complete Paralysis and the Long Road Back to Walking
By Brian Ziegler
CrossLink PublishingCopyright © 2016 Brian Ziegler
All rights reserved.
I believe every human being has a life-defining moment; a moment so forceful, so dramatic, and so important it changes one's entire existence forever. I had my experience on May 27, 2000. My old way of living had come to an end, and it was the start of a life I never thought possible, a life I never thought I would want. This is a story about second chances, a story about God's mercy, and a story about Jesus Christ hearing the prayers of a desperate young man and changing his life forever.
I grew up in a small town about 45 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio. Canal Fulton was the kind of town where everybody knew each other, a town where people actually cared about one another. For a young ornery punk kid, it was both a blessing and a curse. No matter what stupid thing I did, my parents would always find out. My mom used to tell me she had spies strategically located around the town, so she always knew what I was doing. I thought she made it up, but looking back she may have hired a few ninjas to keep an eye on my friends and me.
I was blessed to have an amazing family that loved and cared for me. People would sometimes affectionately joke that my parents reminded them of "the perfect duo." My mother Vicky was my biggest supporter. As far back as I can remember she was always there for her kids; she never missed a ball game, she took care of us when we were sick, and dragged our lazy selves to church on Sunday mornings when all we wanted to do was go back to sleep. My father Bill was the kind of dad every little kid dreamed of. He was a hardworking graphics supervisor who spent his free time teaching me how to fish and coaching my little league teams. I also had an older brother David and a little sister named Kristen.
As far back as I can remember, I was always playing sports. I lived and died for them. I learned at an early age that winning wasn't everything — it was the only thing. I hated to lose at anything and "I thought" losing was for those weak kids who weren't as good as I was. Sports always came easy to me. I would spend hours with my friends playing basketball at the park or football at the local fire station.
I talk to some people who hated their childhoods. They couldn't wait until they graduated so they could leave their old lives behind in search of a new and more exciting one. Not me! Not me, I loved growing up, especially my high school years. I loved all sports. I developed a deep passion for basketball in the ninth grade. As a freshman I made the varsity team and was seeing limited action in "garbage duty." One week during practice, a high school alumnus came and practiced with our team. This man was fast and quick with the basketball. Somehow I ended up guarding him and tried my best not to get embarrassed. I was determined to "check" him no matter what. He was not going to make me look like a small, weak, scrawny little freshman. I remember seeing the ball bounce up and down in his right hand; if I could time it right I could steal the ball on his crossover. He bounced once, then twice, now a third time; I knew the next dribble would be a switch to his left hand. I stuck my hand out and tipped the ball away from him. He got the ball back and set up the offence again. This time he looked angry. No way is this little punk going to take the ball again. He drove right at me and I stole the ball a second time. I couldn't believe it, was this really happening? My coach was ecstatic. He stopped the entire practice and singled me out. He told me I had earned more playing time. In fact, I was going to start the next game.
So here I was, a freshman about to start at guard in a game with a gang of big strong men two to three years older than me. I was completely freaked out. Now, at the time my brother was the star player on our team. He was big and tough and could score a lot of points. The day of the game he found me in the hall and told me not to make any plans for that night because I was going out with him after the game. That sounded really strange to me because my brother had never asked me to go anywhere with him before. He told me he had a date that night after the game. I thought to myself, Big deal, what does that have to do with me? The next thing he told me was the start of my infatuation with "high school living" (and probably the reason so many girls hate my guts to this day). My big bro proceeded to drop another bombshell on me: this girl he was taking out had a friend, and like it or not I was going with him. Of course I liked it; I mean the girl was blonde, popular, and a senior — I was loving life! As the hours ticked closer to game time, I don't know what I was more nervous for: the game or the hot date I had afterwards.
Finally 7:30 came and it was game time. I ran out onto the court completely panicked but ready to play. The announcer called my name, "And now starting at guard, freshman # 23, Brian Ziegler!" I was so excited the adrenaline flowing throw my body was ridiculous. I played the game of my life. I was making three pointers, playing defense, and diving for loose balls. The fourth quarter was about to end and we were all tied up: someone needed to make a play for us to pull out the game. I wish I could have told you it was me that made the game winning shot, but "come on, I was just a freshman." It was my brother who won the game for us. He got the ball on the block and muscled his way to the hoop for the game-winning basket. When the game was over, I finished with fifteen points and seven steals, not bad for my first varsity game. Oh, yea, I also had my first real date with that senior hottie — that didn't go as well, but again "come on, I was just a freshman."
The next morning I woke up and looked at the newspaper. The title of our basketball article read: "Brothers Dominate Northwest Win." I was so proud. I couldn't believe my name made the newspaper and my name was right next to my brother's. Looking back, this is probably the point in my life where I began to love myself more than other people. This became a habit for me. Every Saturday morning after our games I would wake up early and run upstairs to see what was written about me in the paper. I wanted to see how many points I scored. I wanted to see what my scoring average was. I wanted to see if any other freshman were getting the opportunity to play on the varsity team. All I cared about was my stats, how I was doing. Funny thing was the only stat I should have been concerned with was my team's wins and losses. But that wasn't important to me. Wins and losses weren't high on my priority list. They weren't going to get my name in the paper. They weren't going to get me popularity and they sure as heck weren't going to get me any more dates with good-looking senior girls. So I began a love affair — a love affair with myself!
I continued to live this way for the next three years of my life. Each year my basketball skills got better and better while my people skills got poorer and poorer. On the outside I was "living out my dream." I had everything I ever wanted — friends, recognition, popularity, and girls. But no matter how much success I gained, there always felt like something was missing, like my life was only half complete. I didn't know it at the time but God was starting to work in my life, prepping me for a major life change.
At the end of my senior year I had to make a decision on where I was going to go to college. I had a list of about ten to fifteen colleges to choose from. During the year I took multiple visits to different campuses looking to find the college that best fit my skills and lifestyle. I learned a valuable lesson back then: colleges don't care how good of a basketball player you are. If you don't produce in the classroom, you won't get into their university. I was so busy enjoying my high school years that I didn't have time or want to be bothered with schoolwork. I did just enough in the classroom to stay eligible for the season. I also became familiar with something called the NCAA Clearinghouse. In order for me to play basketball at a Division 1 university, I needed to achieve a 2.0 grade point average and get at least an 18 on the ACT. Well, I got the 2.0 but I could not hit the requirement for the ACT. I took it twice and got a 17 both times.
So this left me with only three options for the following year. I could go to a prep school, which was basically just going to a fifth year of high school. The problem with this option was there were no prep schools in the state of Ohio. I could sit out a year and then play the following season. This was not an option for me — the thought of not playing basketball for an entire year made me physically ill. My last option was to attend a junior college for two years and then transfer to another university upon completion. I chose the third option; Edison State Community College in Piqua, Ohio, was where I would be spending the next two years of my life.CHAPTER 2
MY FIRST APARTMENT
One of the coolest perks of attending Edison State was that I got my own apartment. The school did not have any dorms, so if you lived away from home you needed to secure your own place to live. My parents went down to Piqua a couple months prior and found an apartment close to school for me to live. My excitement was uncontainable. I was eighteen years old with my own apartment living 3 1/2 hours from home — life was good, or so I thought. I remember the first night at my new residence. My mother and father had just helped me unpack my things and were getting ready to go back home. I sat at the side of my bed weeping. I missed my house, my friends, and especially my girlfriend who I left back in Canal Fulton. I did not think I could do this. I remember thinking, Screw this, I'm going back home! I will never forget what my mom said to me next: Looking straight into my eyes "I know you are scared; your brother had the same look in his eyes when he went away to school. You can do this, Brian." That was all the reassurance I needed; that one little statement convinced me to give this new life a try.
Living on your own at eighteen years old is a big change. I had to learn to cook for myself, clean, and do my own laundry. Since I was a basketball player, they paired us each with a roommate to help offset cost. I had an awesome roommate named Jamie. He was a 6' 6" massively athletic power forward from a small town in Central Ohio. I did not think it was possible for a human being to jump as high as he could. Jamie and I became extremely close real fast. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate. He taught me many things and I am pretty sure without his guidance I would have died of starvation.
There were two other basketball players who lived in the same apartment complex as Jamie and I. They both grew up a good distance away from Edison and had girlfriends back home. Jamie and I spent many nights over at their apartment relaxing after practice. Now, I was not a big drinker in high school but I did have an occasional drink (or two or three). Both of my new friends were only eighteen and nineteen years old but they had IDs that said otherwise. So the four of us started to drink alcohol on a fairly regular basis. At first it was just a few beers, but soon we were drinking massive amounts of beer and liquor. Before I knew it, I was spending most of the money my parents sent me on alcohol and fast food (beer liquor, and fast food.)
Looking back on my first year of college, I have no idea how we survived. We would be up all night drinking then wake up for 6:00 AM workouts, go to class all day, and then have either practice or a game in the evening. We did this every night of the week. We did not think twice about drinking a six- pack and hopping in the car drunk and going to the next party. We had no one to report to and no one to supervise us (besides our coaches.) We were accountable to no one. This was an immense turning point in my life: I became submerged into this lifestyle and there seemed to be no way out.
After my first year of college I came home for the summer and my life returned to some sort of familiarity. I was back in the house with my parents, spending time with my friends, and strengthening my strained relationship with my girlfriend. I was playing basketball all the time. Mom was spoiling me with her amazing cooking and even doing my laundry for me. Everything was good, and life seemed like it was supposed to be — easy.
Once I was back at college in the fall I returned to my "party lifestyle." I had a new roommate that year, but he only lasted a month before getting homesick and moving back home. Now I had my own place, my own space where I could do whatever I wanted. I spent a lot of time working out and perfecting different parts of my game. I knew this was my last chance to land a spot at the college of my dreams, the University of Akron. I wanted to play there desperately because it was close to home and I could go and play in front of my family and friends. Our team had a great season that year. We set the school record for most wins in a season and won multiple tournament games. At the end of the season I averaged twelve points a game, was named most outstanding defensive player, and selected to the all-conference team. I was glad to have accomplished all of this but I was still unsure of where I was going to go next. My coach reached out to the University of Akron to see if they would be interested in having me join their team for the 2000–01 basketball season. We'll come back to this a little later.CHAPTER 3
WHIP IT GOOD!
In order to clear my head and gain some clarity on my future, I decided to take a trip to Myrtle Beach. This is where I went when I needed to start over. I was really looking forward to this trip because I was going with my friends from high school. I needed this trip. I needed to recharge and focus on what I was going to do next. The four of us hit the warm South Carolina beach and went wild. I decided the best way to forget about all the bad things I was going through was to get drunk (I mean really drunk) and find myself some female companionship. It did not take long before we achieved our goal. The second evening at our sunny paradise, I was consuming massive amounts of alcohol and decided to explore Ocean Boulevard searching for action. As I was wandering aimlessly around the crowded highway, I spotted a jeep full of beautiful girls. Don't ask me why, but I felt this strange urge to jump into a moving vehicle with these women I had never met before. As I emerged from the floor of the backseat, I found myself sitting next to a young Southern belle from Bristol, TN. I threw out the best pick-up line I could think of at the time, "Hey, I've decided you are going to be my girlfriend for the week." I know it sounds lame, but it actually worked.
By about day four of our summer extravaganza, I was looking for a way to accelerate our already out-of-control vacation. We ran into some guys we knew from high school. They were staying a few hotels down from us. As I walked into their hotel, I wasn't sure what was going on. All I know was I saw a handful of empty balloons and a bunch of extremely intoxicated high school seniors staring at the walls of a cheap motel room. It became clear to me that these men had been doing drugs for the last few days. Now I had been around drugs before: in fact, I had been known to smoke a little cannabis every once in a while, but this was entirely different. Turns out they were doing whip-its. To the best of my knowledge, doing a whip-it consisted of filling up a balloon with some type of gas and then ingesting it back into one's lungs. As I was sitting around the room, one of the impaired young men asked me if I wanted to take a turn. I don't know what it is about being in your early twenties, but youth causes some severe lapses in judgment. "Sure — why not?" I replied. Now, mind you, I had no idea what this was and had no clue what I was actually breathing into my lungs (sounds real smart, huh). After my second or third turn, we decided it was time to move on, time to look for our next high.
Excerpted from A Paralyzing Redemption by Brian Ziegler. Copyright © 2016 Brian Ziegler. Excerpted by permission of CrossLink Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 School Dayz 1
Chapter 2 My First Apartment 11
Chapter 3 Whip It Good! 15
Chapter 4 Am I Hearing Voices? 19
Chapter 5 Life after Edison 23
Chapter 6 The Night it All Changed 31
Chapter 7 At the Hospital 37
Chapter 8 The Escape 55
Chapter 9 Prepping to Come Home 59
Chapter 10 Coming Home with Four Wheels 65
Chapter 11 The Rivertree Experience 77
Chapter 12 Oh, No, I'm Getting Married! 87
Chapter 13 This Crazy Guy Named Jason 95
Chapter 14 A Miracle Named Kaymen 101
Chapter 15 Let's Go to Peru 109
Chapter 16 Compassion Daywith Rosa 131
Chapter 17 Coming Home 135
Chapter 18 Brother from a Different Father 143
Chapter 19 You BetterLive It Out 147
Chapter 20 My Next Thirty Years! 155
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was very inspired, encourage me with a beautiful writing and compelling to read and was written from the real true story of Brian life that will challenged you and offer you a hope that with God all things are possible and no matter what are you going through, this book will unequivocally change the way you view Jesus and the way He answers our desperate prayers. This book was a remarkable story of God's ultimate plan to rebuild each one of us in His own image. This is a book of one man's journey from basketball stardom to complete paralysis and with the long road he was back to walking again. This will be an opportunity for all of us to learn and see the way to living life for no matter what happen, or even you was feel hopeless do not give up for everything because you never alone with the love of God always with us. Brain Ziegler ( Malone University ) is a church Planter and Evangelist in Northeast Ohio. Brian and his wife Suzie are passionate about investing in their two most important disciple, their son Gone and daughter Kaymen. I highly recommend ti everyone must to read this book. " I received a complimentary copy this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program for this review "
I couldn’t put this book down! Excellent read and very easy to follow. It makes you feel like the author is having a conversation with you. Hard to believe with everything he has been through, Brian still has such a positive attitude and strives to hit such adventures goals… I highly recommend this book. “A Paralyzing Redemption” – YES PLEASE!