Typically in a case like Ed's, there are lawsuits against those suspected of being responsible for the injury: the helmet manufacturer, the universities, the artificial-turf manufacturer, the coaches, the doctors, the hospital and so on. But in this case, no lawsuit was filed. Nor was one even contemplated.
"There's no blame," says Ed Sr., "so we don't blame. That was out of the question. We are not suing people. I suppose a smart lawyer could have done something, but what does that prove? Angry people sue people. We're not angry. What happened is, a blood vessel in his brain broke. So the doctors removed the blood clot and stopped the bleeding. If we had won a suit, it would have been dirty money to me. I'd have had a hard time spending it."
Today Eddie and his father are up in the mountain community of Conifer, an hour west of Denver, at the local church. Ed Sr. has spoken to a men's group. Now his son will sing.
It is another of the oddities of brain injury: While Eddie might not be able to recall where his money is, he can learn the words to songs—and remember them. His dad starts a tape of backup music, and Eddie comes alive, performing the song Lean on Me. A few months ago he sang the national anthem at the first game of the season in Folsom Field.
Later, when asked how much he owes his family, he says, "All, all, all." He's reminded that he himself has had a lot to do with his recovery. "Well, them 80 percent, me 20 percent," he says.
"If we hadn't done this, he'd be in a wheelchair, sliding out of it, drooling, unable to walk or talk," Pat says. "He wouldn't get better just sitting there. So it's not hard to keep doing this. There is no answer to the question, Why? The appropriate questions are When? and How? because they may have answers."
"At age 19, Ed was more complete as an individual than most people ever become," says his college roommate John Martin. "He was an excellent student and athlete, he had an incredible work ethic, he was spiritual. He had his life extremely well defined."
Ed's sister, Rose, wondered after the accident, "Who's going to teach him to smile again?" Today Ed smiles a lot. Is he happy?
"Yes," he replies. "You?"
Talk turns to things he enjoys, and the list is long: "Reading, writing, arithmetic, studying, classes, volunteers, coaching, walking, Softball, singing, dog, movies."