Wednesday, September 01, 2010

MacLaren passes away

Jim MacLaren, a former Yale football player who became a well-known motivational speaker, passed away on Monday at the age of 47.

MacLaren, a 1985 Yale graduate and three-time letterwinner with the Bulldogs, had his left leg amputated after the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a a New York City bus back in 1985.

According to his official website, MacLaren was originally declared "dead on arrival" when he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Doctors were able to save his life but in the process had to amputate his left leg from the knee down. Rather than bemoan his fate, MacLaren resumed his studies at the Yale School of Drama and began training for a triathlon. He would become a world record holder for amputees and competed at grueling events like the New York City marathon and Ironman Triathlon.

Then in 1993 came another defining moment in his life. Here's the story as told on his official website

"He was in Mission Viejo, California, racing another triathlon. Two miles into the bike leg, on a closed course, a traffic marshal misjudged MacLaren's speed approaching an intersection. The marshal directed a van to cross the street, and the van and MacLaren collided. Hurled into a signpost, MacLaren broke his neck at the C5 vertebrae, paralyzing him."

MacLaren founded the Choose Living Foundation in 2005. He began a motivational speaker and in 2005 he was one of the recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Former Yale offensive lineman Ken Tullo, who graduated from Yale in 1988, asked if I would post a video of MacLaren being honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 2005 ESPYs.

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