TCU student finishes first semester in ICU following paralyzing accident

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A TCU student moved into a new home near campus this month.

It’s a bigger deal than it may sound when you hear about how much he has overcome ever since a terrible accident attributed to fraternity hazing.

Joe Radanovich was a standout athlete and a TCU freshman, before his life took a dramatic turn on a road trip with fellow students in November 2020.

“We were all tired, it was unfortunate that it happened but I remember waking up in the hospital the first thing I said to them was call my dad,” Radanovich said.

The now 20-year-old has been paralyzed from the waist down since that night 19 months ago.

He was in a car with other fraternity pledges on a scavenger hunt across Texas, when the student driving fell asleep.

Their vehicle wrecked and rolled over.

“There was a lot of down moments the first couple days, it was a lot of ‘I’ll be fine this always happens, I can do this, I’ve recovered from injuries before’ and then as it kind of went longer it kind of settles in reality you get reality checked a little bit OK this is here to stay,” Radanovich said.

He spent 10 days in intensive care followed by four months of rehab.

But this remarkable college student barely missed a beat despite that.

“I finished my first semester in the hospital, in the ICU,” Radanovich said. “I took my finals in the ICU. I was able to return to campus for my sophomore year.”

Last week, Radanovich moved into a wheelchair accessible home his family renovated just off campus.

His goal is to lose the wheelchair by the time he graduates.

“What a story would be if I graduated on time and the goal is to walk across that stage but more importantly I found myself,” he said.

Radanovich relies on the encouraging words tattooed on his forearms to do just that.

Radanovich has filed a lawsuit against TCU and the fraternity over the hazing issues related to his accident.

He said he personally has no ill will against either, but what happened to him does reveal the devastating consequences of fraternity initiations.

“You don’t need to be in a fraternity,” Radanovich said. “I still have a lot of my good friends even though I’m not in a fraternity. You find your people.”

And if you’re Joe Radanovich, you also find your way forward.

“As far as the future, they only gave me a 5 to 10% chance to walk but I’ve always defied the odds of everything,” he said.

TCU has yet to release a statement about the lawsuit saying it needs more time to look at it since it was just filed.

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