MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thirty-two years ago today, Marc Buoniconti, son of Miami Dolphins great Nick Buoniconti, played in his last football game ever.
He was 19 when he collided with another player and was paralyzed.
It was a devastating moment.
But in a new candid tell-all book, Buoniconti says the moment actually turned his life around.
Thursday night, Buoniconti signed books with his mouth – the quadriplegic refusing to let tragedy define him.
“I wanted to tell my story to try and inspire people about the way I have lived my life despite my challenges. That you can have a positive force of change in other people’s lives,” he said.
Buoniconti holds nothing back. Thursday night, while joined by his 1984 classmates at Columbus High School, he recalled his high school days – which he spent mostly high.
“I think we called it Christopher Cannabis High. That’s how bad it got,” he recalled.
He barely graduated high school. Went on to play at the Citadel and had a great season until that fateful moment October 26, 1985.
“Right away I knew I was paralyzed. Right in that split second,” he said.
It would change not just his life, but the player he hit: Herman Jacobs.
Jacobs surprised Buoniconti Thursday evening.
After the accident, Jacobs quit football and life for that matter. He credits Buoniconti for saving him.
“I love that guy. Wherever he asked me to be or do, I’m going to be there,” he said.
The two eventually became great friends, even living together.
“That tragedy brought us together, but it didn’t define us. We were able to make some beautiful and positive out of a difficult situation. And I have a great friend who has really made me proud,” Buoniconti said.
Buoniconti helped Jacobs pursue a dream of becoming a chef.
Jacobs now helps Buoniconti with the Buoniconti Fund that gives hope for new breakthroughs for those paralyzed.
And that is what Buoniconti hopes people take from his book, to make in impact.
“From the darkness to the light. Even though you have difficult times you can still become a positive person in the future,” Buoniconti said.
All the proceeds from the book go to the Buoniconti Fund, and that money is what goes to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
Thirty-plus years in the making, they are having tremendous success. A total of aeven FDA clinical trials underway.