Health & Fitness

Twins inspire road to recovery for dad paralyzed in motorcycle wreck

Edward Higgins with his wife Julie and their 2-year-old twins, Isabella and Edward.
Edward Higgins with his wife Julie and their 2-year-old twins, Isabella and Edward.

On April 19, 2006, Edward Higgins was in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed.

“I don’t remember very much of it. From what I was told, I was cut off on Hollywood Boulevard and basically crashed into a wall, or into the curve.”

Higgins, then 26, woke up in the hospital and was told his spinal cord had broken and that he was now a T4 paraplegic, complete paralysis of his lower body and legs. After two surgeries, six months in the hospital and a range of muscle movement therapies, Higgins, now 32, lives with his wife Julie and their 2-year-old twins. He works as a bank manager for JP Morgan Chase.

“I just wanted to get back to work. I wanted to get back to something normal,” Higgins said. “The first time we did a home visit, all I wanted to do was get into my truck, feel normal again, get out of a wheelchair and just sit in my truck.”

Dr. Alan Novick, rehabilitation medical director for Memorial Healthcare System, helped in Higgins’ rehabilitation.

“When they’re first injured, when you have paralysis and you don’t have a lot of your muscles working, including your trunk muscles, you can’t even sit up,” Novick said. “We use our trunk muscles to help us balance. So early on he needed a lot of physical therapy to relearn how to gain balance and be able to sit and then to learn how to get from the bed to a wheelchair, wheelchair to a toilet, without the use of his legs.’’

Julie, 30, had been dating Edward one year when he had his accident.

She had been with him earlier in the day of the accident. At 5 p.m. she received a call from a stranger telling her that “the person that was on the bike got into a really bad accident. They basically said that we would have to pray for a miracle because he broke his spinal bone in half.

“We were both young and I was in love with him, so I couldn’t see myself just walking away from the situation.”

On Aug. 7, 2010, they got married. On May 8, 2013, Edward Higgins became a father to Isabella Juliet Higgins and Edward Gene Higgins IV. They had been trying to conceive throughout their marriage, but due to his situation, it was a challenge. In 2011, Julie had a miscarriage.

Then word came of her pregnancy.

“It was kind of like, ‘Finally!’ It was tears of joy because we tried so hard for the twins.’’

The twins changed Higgins’ life. He says his grandparents, parents and wife were his biggest supporters throughout his recovery process. Now, the twins inspire him.

“When you have something this traumatic and this life changing, there’s a lot of days when you just don’t want to get out of bed,” Higgins said. “And before them, yeah, I got up, as I had a lot of pride in everything I did. ... But after having them, there’s so much more drive. You just want to succeed and be the best person that you can be so that they can strive to be like you.’’