"I'm just one story," said Tinker, as he limped down a hallway in Bryant-Denny Stadium. He's rehabbing with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham. Tinker will be physically healed this fall, but not even he knows where he'll be emotionally. "Soon I'm going to go visit a 10-year-old kid who lost his mom, dad and sister in the tornado," he says. "There have been just so many people affected by this thing. It snuck up on us so fast. All we had time for was to run to the closet. We had no warning."
Three days after the tornado, Tinker's mother, Debbie, pushed him in a wheelchair down a hall in the DCH medical center in Tuscaloosa. He was wearing a crimson-colored Alabama T-shirt. A female hospital employee approached.
"Roll Tide," she said.
"Roll Tide," Tinker replied.
"We've got a lot to look forward to this fall," the employee told Tinker. "A whole lot."
And just then at DCH, where nearly 1,000 residents were treated for tornado-related injuries, Carson Tinker did something that he'll never forget, something that he hadn't done since the nearly 200-mph winds ripped apart his life and the lives of almost everyone in Tuscaloosa.