Richard Collier’s Improving A Little More Everyday

You may remember the story of Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Richard Collier being shot earlier this season.  If you don’t, here’s a quick recap.  Richard was out with former teammate Kenny Pettway back on September 2nd when they met a couple of women out at the club.   So Richard and Kenny went to the ladies apartment building, and while they were waiting outside for them, somebody rolled up on the two of them and started firing.

While Pettway escaped unharmed, the same couldn’t be said for Collier.  He was shot 14 times — 14 times! — and with two of the bullets hitting him in his lower spine, Collier was left paralyzed from the waist down.   Later a blood clot in his left leg forced doctors to amputate the leg from the knee down.  Obviously it was a terrible night for Collier, but the odd part of it is, he never even realized he’d been shot.

From the ORLANDO SENTINEL:

When the bullets came at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive lineman, he tried to get low. That’s where his instincts led him; he didn’t really know what to do. He wondered whether his friend and teammate Kenny Pettway was OK.

And he didn’t feel any pain.

“I remember everything,” Collier said Monday afternoon in his first interview since he sustained 14 gunshot wounds following a night out on the town with Pettway on Sept. 2. “I just remember the whole incident. It plays back in my mind all the time. Try to come up with these scenarios, if I did this, if I did that.”

As the ambulance sped toward Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, just before 3 a.m., Collier still had no idea he’d been hit. He thought he dodged the bullets. The paramedics counted the wounds, and that’s how Collier learned he’d been shot.

“When I got in the ambulance, I remember they were counting bullets,” Collier said. “I was like man, that’s a lot.”

Yes, fourteen is a lot.  To make matters worse, Collier didn’t even realize he was paralyzed until a day later when he asked his sister if it would be okay for him to get out of his hospital bed and walk around, causing her to burst into tears.

The good news for Richard is that he’s starting to regain his upper body strength after being stuck in the hospital since the shooting.   He can now hold a cup, put on his pants, feed himself, and he can even move his right leg a little bit.

As for the man who shot him, Tyrone Hartsfield is scheduled to appear in court on December 11th after pleading not guilty to the charges.  Police think that Hartsfield shot Collier in retaliation for a fight the two of them had back in April of 2008.