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Ep. 24: Ed Devitt – Moving Beyond a Tragedy to Inspire Others

Understanding the consequences of our actions and how distractions can create victims.

When you consider how each decision we make can have a ripple effect in our lives, and the lives of those around us, it’s easy to relate to the story Ed Devitt shares. Through the all-too-common invincibility mindset of a teenager, Ed faced an unimaginable challenge that changed the lives of everyone around him. As Ed shares his powerful story, it’s clear that he has developed an unparalleled passion for life as a result of the obstacles he’s faced. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of Ed’s story is his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and share the reality of how each choice we make could have devastating effects. His story is as devastating as it is inspiring, which is why it’s an important one to share with all of you.

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The profound impact of the choices Ed and his friends made.

As Ed delves deeper into the details of his crash on June 10, 1999, he shares in heart-breaking detail the moments that led to his traumatic brain injury and the death of his friends. Approaching the subject with honesty helps to connect Ed’s story with the overwhelming process of recovery, coping with loss, and feelings of guilt he faced at just 18 years of age. Because of his traumatic brain injury, it was difficult for Ed to process what happened in the days following the crash.

Facing the process of recovery following a traumatic brain injury.

The recovery process was challenging – Ed had to learn how to eat, walk, and do just about everything that once came naturally. As he moved through recovery, it became clear that Ed was lucky to be alive. It’s with this attitude of gratitude that Ed eventually came to share his journey with others, in the hopes that he can help to prevent the devastating impact of distracted driving and driving under the influence.

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The dangers of the “this could never happen to me” mindset.

The fact is, the situation Ed found himself could happen to anyone. It’s all about choices. As Ed discovered in his own journey, the choices he made that night and in the years following his injury led to some harsh realities. Ed shared how, as a teenager, he felt – as most of us do at that age – invincible. In spite of his gut instinct telling him not to get in the car, Ed figured, “why not? What’s the worst that could happen?” It’s this mindset, according to Ed, which leads to many tragedies. From distracted driving to driving under the influence, the belief that “this could never happen to me” all too often influences us to make poor choices. And those choices can lead to tragedy.

Ed’s wake up call and evolution into a speaker.

After years of struggling with alcoholism and finding a way to cope with the events of that night in June of 1999, Ed finally had the wake up call he so desperately needed in 2013. It came from his wife. After she helped him see just how dire his situation was, Ed was able to find his way to recovery from addiction. Today, he shares his inspiring story with schools and at events around the country. Through the power of his story, Ed helps others see just how dangerous our distractions can be. The fact is, Ed could have seen his tragedy as just that – a tragedy. Instead, in true Dream Chasers fashion, he chose to make it his motivation to help change the mindset of others. To save lives. To see beyond one life-changing event and into the bright future that exists in spite of it and also because of it.

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OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE:

  • [0:52] Disclosure about the sensitive subject matter contained in this episode.
  • [1:07] Introduction of Ed Devitt, who shares an important message about his experiences.
  • [2:35] How Ed and Aimee J met and became friends.
  • [3:06] Learning more about Ed’s powerful message and his background.
  • [5:42] Understanding the impact of our actions and how distractions can create victims.
  • [6:37] The breakdown of Ed’s crash and understanding how it all happened.
  • [10:07] The road to recovery following the crash and Ed’s traumatic brain injury.
  • [12:10] The profound impact of the choices Ed and his friends made, and coping with loss.
  • [12:42] Ed explains the length and gravity of his recovery process.
  • [14:15] What role did alcoholism play in Ed’s injury and recovery?
  • [16:18] The impact of the crash and Ed’s injury on his family and friends.
  • [17:25] Ed discusses feeling “invincible” as an 18-year-old and how that influenced the decisions they made that night.
  • [18:45] The dangers of the “this could never happen to me” mindset.
  • [19:06] How Ed uses his traumatic brain injury as fuel to share his message about distracted driving and his experience with addiction.
  • [22:02] What motivated Ed to start sharing his story?
  • [24:42] Ed discusses the wake up call that motivated him to get sober.
  • [26:41] How Ed’s wife helped him see the truth and get the help he needed.
  • [28:35] Ed shares the process of sharing his story and how is able to reach more people.
  • [30:46] Ed’s evolution into a speaker who shares his message with people everywhere.
  • [32:39] How you can find out more about Ed.
  • [33:29] Ed’s recommendation for Dream Chasers.
  • [34:31] Aimee’s discusses the power of Ed’s story.

ED’S RECOMMENDATION:

Spend time volunteering and giving back to others.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

http://www.BrainNewDay.com

The Brain Injury Association of New York State

The Brain Injury Association of America

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