I Can Only Imagine
Strongest Dad in the World
43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;"Read the entire article, Strongest Dad in the World, by Rick Reilly as published din Sports Illustrated.
Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution."
But the Hoyts weren't buying it.
They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room.
When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain.
Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed.
Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.
Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate.
And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles?
Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."
That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!" And that sentence changed Dick's life.
Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons.
Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike.
Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father?
Not much--except save his life.