Tyson and Megan consider themselves blessed to be able to help others, but they have received plenty of help along the way as well. Please read their story – hopefully their perspective on life can impact you a positive way!
Tyson is originally from Sandusky, Ohio and is the youngest of three kids born to Bob and Gloria. He graduated from Perkins High School in 2004 and went to The Ohio State University to earn his degree in Speech and Hearing Science. Tyson chose Ohio State because he grew up as a Buckeye fan and was recruited as a preferred walk-on for the football team. He was recruited as a punter but also played wide receiver in high school, so he eventually started contributing as a scout team receiver as well.
Going into the spring of Tyson's sophomore year, he was asked to focus exclusively on playing receiver. On April 14, 2006, Tyson's life changed in a split second. During a routine play in a team scrimmage, he hit the ground awkwardly while being tackled and was instantly paralyzed from the neck down. Over the next week, he had two surgeries to stabilize his neck with titanium rods and cadaver bone. Prayers started immediately from family, friends, and strangers who had heard Tyson's story in the news. After that, it was a waiting game to see how much the swelling and trauma to his spinal cord would effect his mobility and sensation.
Tyson started inpatient therapy after two weeks in the ICU and step-down unit. He worked with an occupational and physical therapist for about three months before leaving the hospital and starting outpatient therapy. He eventually regained movement in his biceps and also has reduced sensation throughout his body. Tyson considers himself extremely blessed to have regained the movement and sensation he has today. Having the perspective of knowing what it was like to rely on someone for everything has really helped him appreciate life much more than he ever did. Tyson may not be able to do half of what he could before his injury, but he can still do a lot with what he still has.
Tyson went on to graduate with his bachelors in the spring of 2009. However, during his final quarter before graduation, he had a linguistics class that would change his life again. The classroom had stadium seating, so Tyson had to sit in the back of the room. As it turned out, Megan was late the first day of class, so she slid into a seat in the back as well. They ended up sitting next to each other the rest of the quarter and became friends. They kept in touch over the summer and started dating in the fall. Tyson proposed in July of 2011 and they were married in October of 2013. Their relationship is proof that individuals with disabilities or medical issues are still capable of finding someone who loves them, despite their circumstances. There is someone out there for everyone...just have faith!
Megan is originally from Gahanna, Ohio and is the younger of two kids born to Ben and Jane Vanderhorst. She graduated from Gahanna Lincoln High School and went to The Ohio State University in 2006. She earned her bachelors degree in Biology and graduated in 2010. While at Ohio State, Megan took American Sign Language as her foreign language and really enjoyed learning about the dialect and culture of Deaf individuals. After Tyson and Megan moved to Florida in October of 2011, she enrolled in the Interpreter Training Program at St. Petersburg College and graduated in December of 2014.
Tyson graduated with his Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Buffalo in May 2014. He has always been passionate about helping others; especially those who feel marginalized or left out for whatever reason. He does motivational speaking about overcoming adversity and having a positive perspective on life as well. Tyson has spoken to schools, churches, organizations, and businesses. With Megan's interpreting abilities, they will reach out to the Deaf community for speaking engagements, too. The overall goal is to assist/encourage individuals affected by disabilities and educate others on the stereotypes associated with disabilities.