Exeter Union High School

A car accident is often our first meeting with our own mortality. You feel fragile, vulnerable and a scared - especially if you are 13 years old.

Brad Garver was riding his bike when he was hit by a car in 2000. The accident left him in the hospital for six weeks with a concussion. He had to relearn how to talk, write and walk.

But after getting back up to speed in eighth grade, Garver never slowed down. In addition to holding a 3.65 GPA at Exeter Union High School, Garver also competed on the varsity swim team for four years, junior varsity waterpolo for two years and varsity waterpolo for two years. Waterpolo is one of the most physically demanding sports.

"In football if you get knocked down you rest for a minute and then get up," Garver said. "When you get pulled down in waterpolo you have to come back up for air. And even when you aren't moving, you are still treading water. There really is no rest."

Garver said he was inspired by Jim Stanaway, an audio-visual teacher at EUHS. Garver said he took Stanaway's class all four years because he could relate to the teacher who has suffered a stroke that took away much of his mobility on his left side. "He never let it get him down," Garver said. "If he can do it, then I can do it."

Garver's faith has helped him through his high school career. He volunteered much of his time to be involved with the youth group at the Cross Roads Evangelical Free church and was president of the Fellowship of Christian athletes. But nothing compared to the support of his family - his mother, Maureen, father, Steve, brothers, Sam, 16, and Wilson, 14, and his sister, Annie, 11. "They have always been there for me," he said. "They stayed in Fresno the entire time I was at Valley Children's Hospital."

Garver will be attending College of the Sequoias in the fall and then transfer to either Fresno State or California State University, Chico in two years to major in nursing. Although the accident left him deaf in one ear, he has definitely heard his calling.

"I want to work in rehab because I have been through it and can relate to those going through it," he said. "I had so many good nurses that helped me and I want to help others."

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