Kyle Woods; football player paralyzed in '79
WACO, Texas - Former Baylor University defensive back Kyle Woods, paralyzed from the neck down during a practice in 1979, has died. He was 49.
Mr. Woods had a heart attack on March 22 and never regained consciousness. He died Thursday at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, the university announced in a news release.
"Kyle Woods is an icon and beloved member of the Baylor family who will be remembered for his warm friendship, perseverance through tragedy, and being a source of inspiration to all of us," said Baylor's athletic director, Ian McCaw. "He will always hold a special place in both our hearts and Baylor athletics history."
As a 19-year-old sophomore from Dallas, Mr. Woods fractured his neck and severely damaged his spinal cord while making a tackle during practice in 1979.
Former Baylor coach Grant Teaff set up a trust fund that same year that was used to help purchase a home for Mr. Woods in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, where he lived for 29 years, The Dallas Morning News reported in an obituary Friday.
In 2000, L.M. Dyson, a professor at Baylor, and former teammates Scott Smith and Robert "Radar" Holt raised $92,000 to buy Mr. Woods a van with a wheelchair lift.
In 2003, they began a campaign to build Mr. Woods a bigger, more accessible house. Baylor gave $60,000, and $160,000 more was raised to go toward a home in Cedar Hill. The home was also furnished with new furniture and appliances.
"It's kind of mind-boggling that people still care about you after all this time," Mr. Woods told the Waco