Just months after being paralyzed, Patric Young has created a foundation to provide life-changing support for those with life-altering injuries.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla — At 6-foot-9, Patric Young says his stature is what most people immediately noticed about him.
“But it’s like, now you notice that I’m in a chair? Who am I now?” Young asked while sitting in a wheelchair.
The Providence High graduate was one of the top high school basketball players in the country and played for Coach Billy Donovan at the University of Florida.
“We went to three consecutive Elite Eights, then a Final Four, won three SEC Championships, one title, I was a defensive player of the year,” Young said. “I didn’t go drafted, but I still played professional for six years. I got a chance to play around the world.”
After retiring from his basketball career, he got his dream job in 2021, and he got engaged.
“Things just going in 2021 in a great direction for me, as I’m filling out these new roles as serious boyfriend to fiancé, working a professional job with SEC Network covering basketball, traveling, doing all these things.”
But in June 2022, just ten days before his wedding in Nebraska, his life took a turn he wasn’t expecting.
“My car goes completely parallel to the road, and it takes a flip, flips over, and I’m thankful it only flipped over one time,” Young said. “There was so much pressure and compression in my back that it caused my spinal cord to, I felt a pop.”
He called his fiancé right after it happened.
“He called me and said that he got in an accident,” Whitney Young recalled. “And he kept saying, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. He said he couldn’t feel his legs.”
He was airlifted to the hospital with a spinal cord injury and underwent an eight-hour surgery.
“I remember the doctor told I think it was his mom and me that rehabilitation was unlikely, and we just, you know, froze. It was just very shocking,” Young said.
The crash left him paralyzed from the belly button down.
“You know storms, trials that come in our lives, sometimes we think that they disrupt everything. But oftentimes, it could be a nudge to say like, I’m clearing your path. And this is what I want you to focus on,” Patric Young said. “I see like laser-focused that God wants to use me right now.”
Instead of being bitter, he is choosing joy. He got married to his fiancé while in the hospital, and now just months after his accident he’s embarking on a new journey.
“As all of this is happening, he decides now’s the time to start a foundation. Okay. Crazy, right? But, you know, I think through this whole process, we were just showered, just showered with blessings,” Whitney Young said.
While still rehabilitating five days a week, he’s started the Patric Young Foundation to pay forward the outpouring of love and support he and his family have received.
“No one’s really prepared for a situation like this. And it can really not only affect your life and well-being, but it can bankrupt you. And insurance oftentimes will only pay for so much,” Patric Young said.
That’s why his foundation’s focus is providing life-changing support for those with life-altering injuries.
“If you can’t afford it, if you don’t have the right insurance, if you don’t have the people that can come in and adjust your bathroom or widen your doors, all those things matter and making a person feel as though they can be free again,” Patric Young said. “And of course, the dream and vision for everyone is to walk again, but if you don’t, you can still live a life without limitations and the foundation, that’s going to be our purpose.”
While he’s working hard to walk again, he’s living out his faith.
“I have, even if faith. It’s not what if. What if I don’t walk? What if this doesn’t happen? No, even if those things don’t happen in the way that I want them to, I still have the resolve to believe that my God is good. I still can show up to my family, be a good husband, be a good dad, nothing’s going to change that,” Patric Young said. “So, I just say I’m going to choose joy regardless of my circumstances. I want to be a good example for anyone, everyone that’s going to face hardships.”
His foundation is having its first annual golf tournament at the Yards in Ponte Vedra on Dec. 12. All the spots to play are sold out, but tickets are still available for the luncheon and silent auction where you can hear him share more of his story and help support his foundation.
“Regardless of my circumstances, I still love God,” he explained. “I know God still loves me. That he allowed this to happen to help me depend on him more; and to realize I don’t have as much control, but to use me. And when I was able to reframe my mind that God wants to use me through this, this tragedy, I was like, I’m excited. I’m excited to be used and hopefully, bring people and point them to him, that he’s a good loving Father.”