This story has special importance to me because I’ve known Don Reed for 34 years and he was primarily responsible for inspiring me to be a writer. If it were not for Don, you would probably not be reading this editorial.
A former champion weightlifter for the York Barbell Club and former editor of Strength and Health magazine, Don Reed wanted to help his son Roman fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL. And he did this by helping Roman become brutally strong and wicked fast. At age 19, the 6’4” 225-pounder was putting up numbers any pro scout would appreciate – such as a 375-pound power clean, a 425 bench press and 4.52 in the 40! His dream came to an end on September 10, 1994, when he broke his neck.
While Roman was lying in his hospital bed, his doctors told him that he would never walk or use his arms again and he would never father a child. Roman not only regained the use of his arms, he went on to get married, father two children and graduate from the University of California at Berkeley. And the story gets better.
Since his accident, Roman has worked with his father to help raise money for research on spinal cord injuries. The result was Assembly Bill 750, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, which was passed in September 2000 and provides $1.5 million from general funds each year for spinal cord research.
These funds support research at a facility named after Roman, the Roman Reed Core Laboratory, located in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine. When I first wrote about Roman in our September/October 2006 issue, the bill had already raised $4.5 million dollars.
I recently received an e-mail from Don, and he said the act has raised $14 million so far, and that outside matching donations will add another $60 million, for a total of $74 million. Further, the money raised has funded 175 peer-reviewed research papers.
Don, Gloria and Roman continue to work tirelessly to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. Speaking about Roman’s attitude, Don said, “He won’t give up. It has been 15 years, and he is still just as determined as he was the first day of the accident, when we were riding in the emergency van and he said: “Don’t worry, Dad. This is just temporary. We’ll get out of this.” As we say at BFS, Don, Gloria and Roman Reed are true Elevens!
On to this issue: Our September/ October issue places a greater emphasis on training women. One great article you don’t want to miss is by Canadian strength coach and posturologist Paul Gagné on the differences between training men and training women. There are also many other articles that you won’t find anywhere else, such as Dr. Marc Rabinoff’s piece on background checks and another in our continuing series on the Six Absolutes. It’s a keeper!
Kim Goss, MS
Editor in Chief, BFS Magazine