The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

April 1, 2008

MEDINA: Newman thanks community for support

It’s funny how life can change in an instant.

The best and the worst of what the universe hands us takes only a moment: New life entering the world. A bride and groom saying “I do.” A team scoring the championship goal.

And then there are the moments we wish could be reversed.

Like the day all-star Medina High School athlete Nick Newman Jr. went for a spin in an all-terrain vehicle with his friend, Aaron Radka, following a shift at Burger King.

Newman ran his ATV into Radka’s along Route 31, ejecting them both. Radka was transported to Medina Memorial Health Care System with a broken arm. Newman was flown by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where doctors discovered he was paralyzed from the neck down.

His parents, Holly Deyo and Nick Newman Sr., rushed to his side, along with his stepmother, Melissa Newman, and his sisters, Allison Zinkievich, 18, and Elizabeth Newman, 9. His 21-year-old brother Andrew Zinkievich took an emergency leave from his station in Hawaii with the U.S. Army.

It wasn’t until three days after he first woke up that Newman realized the full extent of his condition, he said. To this day, he has no memory of the accident or the day leading up to it.

“I really didn’t realize when I first woke up,” Nick said in an interview at his former place of work Sunday. “I didn’t have finger movement.”

Two weeks after the accident, Nick was transferred to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, one of the best spinal cord injury rehabilitation hospitals in the country.

It was the best decision they made, Nick Sr. said. The medical staff there maintained a positive attitude that rubbed off on the entire family, and Nick Jr. was able to find comfort in patients with similar injuries.

Text Only
Local News