Trinity grad to return to Manchester for ‘Fun Run’
The 1983 Trinity High School graduate, who played football and rugby and worked as a construction equipment broker, was always in the midst of the action.
Until last Aug. 18, when he took one last dive off the boat and broke his neck.
Smith’s brother, Daren, and a half-dozen others in the group with medical or EMT experience began working on him. The Moultonborough rescue squad neck-braced and back-boarded him for the helicopter flight to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Smith survived.
The 48-year-old is considered a quadriplegic, with paralysis of arms and legs. He now lives in Arlington, Mass., in an apartment that is wheelchair accessible. A personal care attendant comes in daily to help.
But the man who ran seven Boston Marathons — five to raise money for the Jimmy Fund to benefit children with cancer — isn’t willing to settle. He’s determined to continue improving. He intends to get back on his feet.
Smith will be in Manchester for a special race this Aug. 18, exactly a year after his accident, when his friends hold a “Fun Run” to help with his progress.
Organized by Kevin Comerford, a friend since high school at Trinity, the 2.7-mile walk/run around Derryfield Park, is a chance to support Smith and his continuing efforts to regain mobility.
After three months in an induced coma and many more months of physical and occupational therapy, Smith believes he can make more progress toward independence.
“I’m moving my foot a little bit,” he said. He has some feeling in his hands, too.
“Spaulding Rehab in Boston asked me to be a spinal cord injury mentor to patients at the hospital, which I gladly accepted,” he said.
But he is now focused on getting therapy at a nonprofit organization called Journey Forward in Canton, Mass. The program is not covered by insurance, but Smith said it is his best chance of continuing to improve mobility.
Instead of helping him adjust to life in a chair, he said, the goal at Journey Forward is to help him get out of it. Hand cycles and stand-up frames, electrical stimulation and other techniques are part of the program.
“It’s all about keeping the bone density up,” said the man who once ran as what he called a “Clydesdale,” a running category for big, bulky guys.
Daren Smith said his big brother was always a runner, trying to stay in shape. “That day ... of the injury, he ran up a big hill,” said Daren Smith.
The first 200 runners to register will receive a T-shirt. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at Trinity HIgh School, 581 Bridge St., and the race begins promptly at 9 a.m., rain or shine. The route starts and finishes at the Bridge Street entrance to Derryfield Park, across from Trinity, and loops around to Belmont Street and back, a total of 2.7 miles.
The requested donation is $30, with checks made payable to the “Brian Smith Friendship Fund.”