“When you’re out of options, create one.”
– Joey Ortiz, author, inspirational speaker and former football player (joeyortiz.com)
Joey Ortiz was a rising football star. The University of Nevada Las Vegas listed Ortiz as their number 1 recruit. Everything was looking up for Ortiz then suddenly it came crashing down. After an evening of partying, a vehicle traveling at speeds up to 70 miles per hour crashed into Ortiz in a near-fatal pedestrian hit-and-run accident. The force of the car sent him 75 feet down the road. Left for dead in the street, he laid helplessly on the ground. The paramedic had to revive him as he was unresponsive from his head injury. The hit-and-run car accident left him with a cracked cranium, bruised brain, knocked out several teeth, separated shoulder, fractured wrist, broken ribs, broker bladder, bruised kidneys, broken pelvis, broken leg, cracked kneecap, torn PCL, torn miniscus and broken and dislocated ankle. He was in a coma for three days. When he awoke, to his devastation, the doctor informed him that he would never play football again. His life was over.
Relentless Spirit to Survive & Thrive
Anyone in his near-death situation would have given up on life. Afterall, there was nothing else besides football. A child of Puerto Rican descent, he was physically abused by his father who beat him mercilessly with a horse whip. To escape his abusive home life, he began drinking as early as age 8. Then he found an outlet — football. He took to the sport like fish in water. Ortiz immediately became a rock star football player in middle school as a quarterback, leading his team to victories and claiming the title of MVP. He would later be elected to his high school’s Hall of Fame as a wide receiver.
Football was the only sane thing that was keeping his fragile life together. In high school, he had 6 DUIs, skip classes, partied as hard as he could and experimented heavily with drugs. Though the University of Miami wanted to recruit Ortiz his GPA was too low and he even lied about his SAT score.
No aptitude for academics or other talents, football was his only means for success. But now, it was robbed before his eyes. His life began to spiral down quickly. He started to do cocaine, so much that the local drug dealers would give him free samples as part of service. DUI became a regular pattern. He was hospitalized nine times for his drug and alcohol related abuses.
Then something major happened. In 2008, his wife walked out on him. As he instinctively reached for a cold beer in the fridge, he stopped in mid-motion. Ortiz decided to stop drinking and doing drugs cold turkey. In 2009, he gave his life to Jesus Christ and became a Christian.
That year he walked over 3,600 miles and then subsequently wrote a book entitled Correcting a Wreckless Life. Over the next decade, he would go unto to publish his major book: Correcting a Wreckless Life, which was endorsed by Tim S. Grover, trainer of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
Ortiz Strives to Inspire Others
He had turned his lowest point in his life to his greatest triumph and began to share his story of hope, courage and redemption.
Today Joey is an inspirational speaker sharing his message of healing, perseverance and overcoming his biggest demons. Joey Ortiz is the epitome of Strive — when we do the things most uncomfortable in our lives, we realize incredible success. When we turn our tragedy to serve others for the greater good, we are exercising the true spirit of Strive.