South Carolina College Football Player in $8 Milllion Injury Settlement

August 3, 2009

A paving company has agreed to pay $8 million to settle a lawsuit over an accident that destroyed the career of a promising South Carolina college football player and left him an invalid.

But Brian Moore, 21, said his accident — which severed his spine and left him mostly paralyzed and unable to live without caregivers — has also given him wisdom and a direction he wouldn’t otherwise have had.

“It is God’s plan for me,” said Moore, who could run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and who would have been a redshirt sophomore tackle for Newberry College in 2007. Once he hoped for an NFL career and to compete in the World’s Strongest Man event; now he wants to be a motivational speaker and do ministry work.

“My target is going to be teens, but I pray that God will be able to use me to change the lives of anybody through Him. I just want to be a living testimony, and I want my life to scream, ‘Jesus lives.”‘

According to a settlement agreement filed recently in state civil court in the Fairfield County courthouse, Boggs Paving of Monroe, N.C., will pay $8 million to Moore.

Moore, of Ridgeway, was a rising junior at Newberry College in June 2007 when his car slid on a slippery, mud-covered stretch of secondary road that had just been resurfaced. It was daylight, and the former Fairfield Central High School football standout was on his way to mentor high school weight lifters.

Boggs Paving had been doing construction work on the road but had left the job site a hazard to motorists, Moore contended in a lawsuit.

A trial in the case was to have begun in late July after more than a year of discovery, said one of Moore’s lawyers, Cheryl Perkins, of Columbia.

Boggs has no comment at this time as details of the agreed-upon settlement are still being finalized, said John Florence, a Columbia attorney for the company.

Despite his paralysis, Moore said, he would not trade what the accident has taught him — even to have his health back.

“God has blessed me with a lot of wisdom through this ordeal, through my suffering.

“And I believe wisdom is much greater in value than pleasure, or comfort or superb health. I will take the wisdom over the money, and over my health,” said Moore, whose favorite Bible verses are in the fourth chapter of Philippians and contain the line, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

Much of the $8 million settlement will go to medical expenses, a van, legal fees, years of future physical therapy and round-the-clock caregivers he will need the rest of his life.

The money will buy annuities that will guarantee him a steady stream of income, said Perkins.

Up till now, his main caregivers have been his mother, Virginia Moore, 54, his sister Mishondy Charles, 35, and girlfriend, Tangela McLean, 22, whom he met before his accident.

Moore said needs help almost 24 hours a day — washing, fixing his food, getting in and out of bed, brushing his teeth, taking medicine — all the things able-bodied people never have to think about.

The settlement money means he can get married to Tangela, who now won’t have to be his full-time nurse because the couple will be able to hire caregivers, he said.

Children are “definitely” in the future, he says. “I would like to have two boys and one girl.”

Like anyone, Moore said, he at first “questioned why this happened to me.”

And football is still a love of his life, he said.

“I watch all the games. Sports is still very much part of my life.” As a player, he said, he loved the competition, trying to outthink opponents, and the camaraderie among teammates.

These days, his activity is physical therapy and getting around in his motorized wheel chair. He has good use of his left arm, and _ thanks to a nerve graft at Duke University Hospital _ has regained a little pain-free use of his right arm. (He is right handed.)

Before his accident, he was known for his cheerfulness, and that has not changed _ except people sometimes ask him now why he smiles so much, he said.

“I have a reason to smile because I know God as a healer, a provider. He makes a way out of no way,” Moore said.

Moore said he is looking forward to getting a specially equipped van, which will allow him to get around and do motivational speaking.

“When I do get a chance to speak, I like to encourage people and let them know, whatever they are going through, they can overcome it too.”

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