by John S. Young, MD
National Spinal Cord Injury Data Research Center

What drives them? Whence comes their superhuman motivation and courage? What separates the Gimps and the Crips from the invalids? These sophomoric questions plagued me during the early years of my professional association with spinal cord injured persons. Only after years of peripheral involvement in their lives, including some deep friendships, did I realize that they are heroes, but only in the sense that all human beings have the capacity for heroism, particularly when they have no other choice. To this day, I have never ceased to be amazed at the ability of common, ordinary people to overcome adversity. The lives of the characters in this book testify that it isn’t easy, but it can be done.

Certainly, OPTIONS is must reading for all spinal cord injured persons when the time comes to make their decision — some early, some late — “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” The candid, pragmatic counsel of those who have gone before can be helpful.

Rehabilitation professionals, regardless of their level of expertise and experience, have a major handicap in understanding the desires and despairs of their “patients”. They haven’t been there! This book provides an intimate glimpse beneath the surface. This is where the action is. Rehabilitation is a people business and you have to know the territory.

OPTIONS is not only a book about the spinal cord injured. It deals with adversity and catastrophy; challenge, motivation and desires; and success. It is strongly recommended for all able bodied people. Sprinkled throughout the pages are philosophical pearls to be harvested by men and nations. The human race can and will survive catastrophy. People do it every day!