Twenty-one years later, Mario Reed is still finding ways to share, uplift and inspire.
Reed — the former Millington High football player who was left a quadriplegic as a result of an injury suffered in a 1997 game — is the subject of a new documentary entitled “The View Within Mario Reed” which will be premier Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Malco Studio on The Square. It’s a follow-up of sorts from the book Reed co-authored with Perry Burrows in 2013.
“When people look at how a person perseveres, it’s not just about that (one) person,” Reed said. “It’s not just myself; it’s my sister, my brother, my mother, friends, coaches … I’ve had a lot of good friends for the last 20 years.
“I want to show people what my life is like on a daily basis … John Hamilton, the director, was very patient and professional with me throughout the whole process. We developed a good connection and he laid out every phase for me.
“And (local author) Christin Webb (who wrote the script) was able to help me come up with different formats and ways of telling my story. I’m totally pleased with the way it turned out.”
The 90-minute film, which is narrated by longtime friend and AutoZone Liberty Bowl Associate Executive Director Harold Graeter, chronicles Reed’s journey that began on Sept. 12, 1997 when Reed was a 15-year-old sophomore.
He was covering a kickoff in a game against Houston and went low to make a tackle when his head collided with a teammate’s thigh. The result was damage to the C5 vertebrae at the base of the neck that will leave Reed using to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
But as the web site for the film points out, paralysis was not a death sentence.
With the support of friends like former Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher and ex-Millington teammate and former NFL running back Ahmaad Galloway, Reed has inspired all those around him with his unwavering faith and positive outlook.
“There are a lot of old photos, some re-enactments to show parts of my life,” he said. “It is still hard to talk about it … but I’m blessed every day.”