Adam Taliaferro to Keynote 2013 Conference & Expo

Mar 11, 2013

You may not know his name. But you will definitely know his story.
Join us on May 9th for the keynote address at “Soar! CAI’s Annual Conference & Expo” to hear the extraordinary story of Adam Taliaferro.

On a Saturday in September, with less than two minutes remaining in Penn State’s game against rival Ohio State, Adam Taliaferro made a routine helmet-to-helmet tackle that would change the course of his life.

The Voorhees, N.J. native had broken his neck – the same injury suffered by actor Christopher Reeve.

Adam lay motionless on the field. Given only a three percent chance of ever walking again by medical personnel, Adam had very different ideas. Today he walks, and walks well.

"Adam is our miracle," said legendary Penn State Coach Joe Paterno. Adam is the personification of triumph over tragedy, an inspiration to his teammates, his Penn State family, and anyone who hears his story.

Prior to his injury, Adam was a National Football League prospect. A cornerback, he was ranked the seventh best high school player in the nation when he graduated as a National Honor Society member. Offered scholarships to numerous schools, Adam chose to play for Penn State.
The talented, personable and vibrant young man and his family would have nothing of the devastating diagnosis after he was injured on Sept. 23, 2000. Through his incredible determination, courage, tireless rehabilitation and desire to return to a normal life, Taliaferro was, incredibly, walking on his own five months after his injury.
A little more than 11 months later, Taliaferro completed one of the major goals he had established soon after his injury. On September 1, 2001, he jogged onto the Beaver Stadium turf, in front of a jubilant, record crowd of more than 109,000, leading the Nittany Lions onto the field against the Miami Hurricanes.

Though playing football was no longer part of Adam's future, his inspirational tale of recovery has been followed across the nation, leading authors Scott Brown and Sam Carchidi to chronicle his remarkable story in their 2001 book, Miracle in the Making.

Taliaferro began taking a full academic course load again at Penn State in the Fall, 2001 semester while continuing his rehabilitation. He remained a part of the Penn State football team as a student-assistant coach and received the Maxwell Football Club's Spirit Award, given to a college football player who displays courage and heart in overcoming adversity. Adam also was the recipient of the Bob Mitinger Award, presented to a Penn State senior who personifies courage, character and social responsibility.

Adam was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. In May, 2005 Adam walked across the stage and was awarded his Penn State degree in Labor and Industrial Relations. In May, 2008, Taliaferro earned his law degree from the Rutgers School of Law-Camden.
Within months of his injury, Adam and his family created the Adam Taliaferro Foundation. The foundation provides emotional, financial and educational assistance to individuals who suffer catastrophic head or spinal cord injuries. The foundation, which has raised nearly $500,000 since its inception, also provides support for research and prevention of those injuries.

Adam was a practicing attorney for five years and now works for Bristol Myers Squibb as a healthcare advocate. In November of 2011, Adam was elected as a member of the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders. In July, 2012, Adam was elected to the Penn State Board of Trustees.

The Philadelphia Sportswriters Association recognized the efforts of Adam and his foundation in 2009, as he was presented the Humanitarian of the Year Award for his philanthropic efforts.

Through his foundation, Adam continues to provide hope for so many people who feel there is no reason to hope at all. As Adam says it: “I have been blessed in more ways than one…and it’s now my mission to share my blessings with anyone who will listen!”

Adam will deliver the keynote address at our Annual Conference & Expo at 9:30 AM, during the general session, on May 9th in the Diamond Club at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Register today to hear this remarkable story of overcoming adversity and soaring to new heights.

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