Paralyzed martial artist finds blessing in tragedy

Published: Jan. 16, 2014 at 10:50 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:32 AM EST
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Southern Pines, NC (WBTV) - When someone first suggested Brian Freeman start taking Jujitsu classes, he was convinced he couldn't do it. But that someone was Brian's 8 year old daughter Katie and she was convinced, he could.

"I couldn't argue with any of the reasons she gave me. She looks at me in a different light than most people I think,"

Katie sees a fighter who's slowly mastering an ancient form of martial arts. She sees determination and courage. She sees all the things he can do, while some people just see the wheelchair her dad sits in.

"In surgery they woke me up and wanted to make sure everything was fine. They wanted me to wiggle my toes and move my legs and things. I was doing it. I said I'm doing it and they said 'no you're not'."

During surgery to repair an injury from a car crash, The blood supply to Brian's spine was cut off. He was left with little more than slight use of his right leg.

Katie was only 2 years old. So to her This is normal. Brian decided it would be for him too.

"I'm going to be paralyzed and disabled regardless of my attitude, so I can be miserable or happy. And I chose happy," Brian said.

When you come within a whisker of death, Brian says, that choice is easy.

"It's not really a clean start, but a fresh perspective on life and what's really important in life."

That attitude is the only difference between the worst thing that could have possibly happened to him, and the best thing that ever did.

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