Tanner Gers became visually impaired from a horrible auto accident. Though he survived, he was convinced his life was over. The Louisianan, turned Arizonan described March 28, 2004, the day of his crash, as the most pivotal moment in his life. ‘Everything,’ he said, ‘changed on that day.’
He described losing control of the car he was driving and landing upside down after cascading down a 40-foot embankment. ‘A tree smashed through the windscreen and impaled my face,’ he said.’ I lost my left eye, and my face and skull were crushed. I suffered from severe brain trauma and fractured my spinal cord. I lost sight in my right eye 19 days later because of the swelling of my brain. After the accident, I felt like a bag of bones. I was in unbelievable amounts of pain that left me weeping for days. I also had an infection in my brain that was killing me. I thought my life was worthless; I just wanted to die,’ he told me.
He described how he found his old baseball glove in the attic of his parent’s home during his convalescence from his accident and told himself he would never play the game again. ‘Game over,’ he told himself.
He described that exchange with his father as one of the most important wake-up calls that helped him move forward. Years later, remembering that conversation with his father, Tanner saw a television commercial about ‘Beep Baseball,’ which was a form of his lifelong passion, played by the blind. He leaped at the opportunity, determined to give it ‘everything I’ve got.’
That television commercial was the catalyst that helped transform his entire mindset from one of self-pity and self-loathing to one of determination and inspiration. He recalled that his accident when he felt he had nothing else left to live for was the first time in his life he was forced to look inward to assess just who he was and what he was made of. That inward examination transformed his life and his focus. He became determined to teach and help others who had experienced similar misfortunes.
Today, Tanner Gers is a US Paralympian in Track and Field, a two-time National Cycling Champion, and, by the way, the greatest hitter in Beep Baseball. He is an author, a TEDx speaker, advisor to many on achieving physical and mental health, and Executive Director of My Blind Spot, a coaching and consulting firm that teaches people inspiring methods to achieve success in life with purpose. The essence of his message and teachings is how to become the Super Hero of your own life.