Last Thursday, our Madrid campus hosted a new session of Professor José B. Pinto's School of Dreamers. On this occasion, we received the visit of Ryan Brady who presented his talk "Going through hell? This is how I kept walking".
Ryan was born again at the age of 17. And like any newborn, he had to learn to talk and walk, after brain injuries caused by the car accident that left him in a coma erased his long-term memory.
On August 30, 2017, Ryan, a senior student at Redwood High School in California, was driving his mother's car on his way to school with his younger brother sitting in the passenger seat. Ryan, who was going just over 39 mph, suddenly swerved on a winding curve to avoid hitting oncoming traffic and plunged 80 feet off a steep cliff on top of Paradise Cay. The car flipped eight times until landing, crushed, between a concrete wall and a porch.
Fortunately, his brother had only a few scratches, but Ryan was left in critical condition, with injuries to his back, neck, arms, hands, collarbone, and knee. Ryan lost consciousness shortly after the car overturned, slipping into a coma and remembering nothing of the two weeks prior to the accident.
"And yet, my brain injuries have taught me so much more than they have taken away from me," the 22-year-old told the auditorium of students intently following his talk. After a week in a coma, Ryan underwent a year of physical and speech therapy to regain his mobility and basic functions. As an anecdote, he told how, when he awoke from the coma, his brain had erased all knowledge of his native language, English, and recovered the notions of Spanish he had learned the previous summer in Mexico, so that for the first few days he could only communicate in Spanish with his family and the hospital staff, who, not knowing Spanish, needed translators to understand him.
The world favors those who take risks.
"The main take-aways from this experience can be summed up in two: The world favors those who take risks, and the higher you believe, the higher you achieve," Ryan explained. After managing to graduate with his classmates in 2018, Ryan undertook several businesses that failed, "but were a total success in terms of learnings" and years later gave him a competitive edge when it came time to look for work. He also accumulated internships in very different companies, with the goal of gaining experience and, after graduating in International Business in Madrid, today he works as a sales specialist at Digital Prodigee, a San Francisco-based company.
Ryan is the latest of the inspirational dreamers that José B. Pinto, professor of "Multicultural Competence for Business" and "Public Speaking" at our Madrid Campus, has invited to talk to students as part of his "School of Dreamers". This initiative aims to bring to campus people with extraordinary stories, who break the mold on a personal or business level, and who have a dream that a priori seems impossible. They are all personal examples that another future is possible with the great motivator of success.
In Pinto's words, "I am convinced that beyond technical knowledge, the university must teach young people that the place where they will spend the rest of their lives - the future - is a place full of possibilities. Realizing the imperative of the German poet and playwright after whom we are named, Schiller: "Dare to dream and to wander".