Ad Spot

Former tennis ace tells consequences of drunk driving

MADISON – As he was entering college, Blake McMeans’ future was shiny and bright until a wrong decision to drive after drinking left him severely injured.

Now a quadriplegic, McMeans told his story to students at Bob Jones High School on Sept. 24 in Zompa Auditorium.

As a teenager, Blake was following the legacy of his father, Neal McMeans, former University of Tennessee football captain. In tennis, Blake had won numerous tournaments, raced in national rankings and secured his place as one of the United States’ top tennis players.

Unfortunately, Neal McMeans suddenly died of a heart attack when Blake was 17 years old. “Shook by grief, Blake turned to alcohol to numb the pain,” according to his website blakemcmeans.com/meet-blake.

Blake’s skills won a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee, and a prestigious fraternity accepted his bid. Tragically, on Nov. 10, 1994, Blake and his future fraternity brothers met at a bar near UT’s campus. While intoxicated, Blake drove and was within one-half mile of his home when his car ran into an embankment, hit trees and flipped three times.

Airlifted to UT medical center, Blake survived but with severe brain injuries. He was in a coma for more than four months. Blake worked for years to regain speech and rudimentary skills, like swallowing and lifting his head.

“It only takes one time. You can’t pick and choose your time you have a wreck. You think you’re invincible. I did, too, but I found out I am not,” Blake told his Bob Jones audience.

Blake warned the teenagers not to take chances after just one drink or by sending one text message. “It can wait,” he said.

He founded a non-profit organization, Blake McMeans Foundation and Promise Tour, to educate teenagers first-hand about dangers of drunk drinking. He remembers hearing warnings about mixing drinking and driving but never heeding them.

“Looking from the outside, I was a healthy happy teenager with his whole life ahead of him. I thought drinking alcohol was cool and no big deal to drive. I gambled my future and now my future is dramatically different,” Blake said.

Blake said many of his ‘drinking buddies’ while a tennis star disappeared after his accident. “I’m a constant reminder of the reality,” he said.

For more information, visit blakemcmeans.com/meet-blake.

Madison

Mercy Wolverton impressively masters hi-tech study, business

Madison

At Madison Street Festival, veterans to show fighter helicopter from Vietnam War

Madison

Local marching bands to be featured at “March on Madison” tonight

Madison

MSF’s Community Showcase promises array of talent

Madison

Brooms, mops in Lions Club sale to raise funds for vision projects

Harvest

Local musicians to jam at Madison Street Festival

Madison

Trash Pandas fall 4-2, Tennessee evens series

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Athletic Hall Of Fame Accepting Nominations

Harvest

Railyard BBQ Brawl and Music Festival returns Oct. 29

Bob Jones High School

Tommy Overcash appointed to Madison Board of Education

Madison

Children vulnerable for troubled mental health, Cook says

Madison

Fast start leads Trash Pandas to 9-5 in playoff game 1 win

Harvest

Updating state’s 1901 Constitution on November ballot

James Clemens High School

Boynton champions languages with ‘A Seal of Biliteracy’

Madison

Jessica Penot to discuss ‘Haunted North Alabama’

Madison

MSF shows artistic influences at Artist Alley, Crafters Cove and Student Art Tent

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones, James Clemens command National Merit totals for Alabama

Bob Jones High School

Coaches White and McGehee speak in ‘Sittin’ With the Supe’

Huntsville

Dr. Charles L. Karr named President of UAH

Madison

Trash Pandas clinch second half title with 5-2 win, playoffs start next week

Harvest

Master Gardeners set for Fall Plant Sale on Sept. 24

Madison

Senior center conducts food drive, ceramics sale

Madison

MSF doubles Children’s Area, changes shuttle stops

Madison

POLICE: Two men arrested after injuring woman in burglary attempt

x