May 14, 2008
Thanks to the generous financial support of many, former Baylor football player Kyle Woods will move into a new handicap-friendly home on Sunday, May 18 at 3 p.m. The public is invited to Sunday's open house from 3-5 p.m. and prior to that, a media availability session has been scheduled starting at 2 p.m.
Woods sustained an injury during a 1979 practice at Floyd Casey Stadium that rendered him a quadriplegic. Since the injury, Woods has lived in the same Dallas home, however, that will change on Sunday when he takes possession of a new home located at 439 Golden Pond Drive in Cedar Hill, Texas.
"Over 100 of Kyle's friends and admirers have contributed financially," said legendary Baylor football head coach Grant Teaff. "Scores of businesses, companies and organizations have joined the effort through gifts in kind. The simple truth is that all who have contributed to this effort have done so because they care deeply about Kyle Woods and his circumstance."
As a 19-year-old sophomore defensive back from Dallas, Woods was a member of the scout team defense working against the second team offense. While making a tackle, Kyle fractured his neck and severely damaged his spinal cord. Because of Kyle's faith, determination, and positive attitude, he became an inspiration to his teammates and coaches during the 1979 Peach Bowl champion season and the undefeated 1980 Southwest Conference championship campaign.
At the end of the 1979 season, his teammates dedicated the Bears' game against Clemson to their fallen teammate. Baylor's captains proclaimed at the Peach Bowl's pre-game press conference that the Bears would win the game for Woods, and Teaff's team responded with a 24-18 victory over the heavily favored Tigers.
"We will never be able to repay Kyle for the inspiration and dedication he gave us, as people and as a football team in 1979 and 1980," said Scott Smith, a teammate of Woods at Baylor. "Kyle continues to inspire us all by the way he lives his life today."
The following year, Baylor won its first seven games before San Jose State knocked off the No. 10-ranked Bears in Waco, 30-22. The next week, prior to Baylor's nationally televised game against Arkansas, in a pre-game speech to his teammates, Woods encouraged his teammates to, "Turn a setback into a comeback."
The Bears steamrolled the Razorbacks, 42-15, and went on to win their first Southwest Conference title since 1974 and finish with a perfect 8-0 record in league play. Teaff's squad went 10-2 in 1980, and the 10 victories still ranks as a school record.
Though confined to a wheelchair today, Woods has completed his education and serves as a counselor at a university in his hometown. In the years since his injury, Kyle has remained a constant inspiration to all who come in contact with him. He has never complained or blamed. With his beautiful smile and positive attitude, he touches lives each day.
Anyone wishing to help with furnishings, taxes and future maintenance of this dream come true may do so by sending donations to the Kyle Woods Supplementary Needs Trust in care of Extraco Bank, P.O. Box 7813, Waco, TX 76714.
Below is an essay written by Coach Teaff, "Shattered Dreams," which details some of Woods' remarkable story since his injury and the impact he has made on the Baylor family:
A night practice in late August 1979 changed the lives of everyone connected to Baylor Football. The sound of two helmets hitting echoed throughout the stadium and now, 29 years later we are still changed by that dramatic moment.
A redshirt defensive back from Dallas, Texas, lay motionless on the turf at Baylor Stadium with a broken neck. In a split second a 19-year-old vibrant, athlete, became a quadriplegic. His dreams were shattered. That young man, Kyle Woods became a hero and an inspiration to his coaches and his teammates in the way he handled the tragic loss of his mobility. His stirring talks in 1979 and 1980 inspired his teammates to become two of the great teams in Baylor Football history. His smile and his positive attitude still encourages all who meet him.
Shortly after the accident, I felt it important to find a way to provide adequate housing and living assistance for Kyle, who faced the remainder of his life as a quadriplegic. It was evident that he needed a miracle. Through the generosity of many, we were able to purchase a house for Kyle and his family and assist him financially. Kyle's determination to finish his degree was an inspiration and motivation to us all. Kyle received his degree in counseling and now advises handicapped students as they seek to fulfill their own dreams.
Six years ago, Kyle's coaches, team mates and others raised money to buy him a handicap ready van. The money raised exceeded the cost of the van, therefore, a new dream emerged. Kyle needed a new home. The money left over from the van purchase became the seed money to build the new home.
Four and a half years ago, with the assistance of Baylor University, the Athletic Department, Friends of Baylor, Kyle's teammates and coaches, a fundraising campaign was started to make the dream of a new home come true. L.M. Dyson, a distinguished Baylor Business professor, volunteered to oversee the construction of the home.
A working committee was formed, consisting of myself, Robert Holt, Scott Smith, and Walter Abercrombie, to take on the challenge of raising funds and securing gifts in kind. The personal commitment I have witnessed on the football field almost paled in comparison to the commitment of those directly involved in making this new dream come true. A handicapped friendly home had to be designed; land purchased; and a thousand other minor and major details with many problems had to be overcome to make the dream a reality.
Over 100 of Kyle's friends and admirers have contributed financially. Scores of businesses, companies and organizations have joined the effort through gifts in kind. The simple truth is that all who have contributed to this effort have done so because they care deeply about Kyle Woods and his circumstance.
On May 18, 2008, at 3:00 pm Kyle will take possession of his new, handicap friendly home. It is completely furnished with brand new furniture and appliances. Thanks to the good will of many contributors like Weir's Furniture of Dallas, Texas.
Dreams really do come true through the power of love.