Retired 7-foot-6 NBA star Shawn Bradley has been ‘battling suicidal thoughts’ since bike crash

Shawn Bradley says he continues to battle suicidal thoughts since the bicycle crash that left the 7-foot-6 former NBA center paralyzed one year ago.

‘Maybe it’d be better if this was just all over,’ Bradley told Sports Illustrated. ‘Yes, those thoughts creep in — and they’re real. I can’t ever imagine myself acting on those thoughts, but I definitely have them.’

Seeing former teammates, like longtime Dallas Mavericks star Michael Finley, has been particularly tough for Bradley.

‘It’s hard for me to let them see me like this,’ Bradley told SI, reportedly holding back tears. ‘It’s the challenge of remembering what once was… and knowing it’ll never be the same.’

The January 20, 2021 crash occurred when a minivan rear-ended his bike on one of his regular rides near his home at the time in St. George, Utah. The 49-year-old landed on a parked car, resulting in damaged vertebrae in his neck.

Since then, Bradley has been paralyzed from the neck down and now moves with the help of a motorized wheelchair.

Bradley and his family did not reveal the crash publicly until March of 2021, and many details from the incident weren’t known until the former BYU star and second-overall draft spoke with SI recently.

Shawn Bradley says he continues to battle suicidal thoughts since the bicycle crash that left the 7-foot-6 former NBA center paralyzed one year ago. In this 2021 picture, Bradley is seen smiling after getting McDonald’s delivered to him following the bicycle crash 

Bradley is now continuing his rehabilitation in Dallas with the help of his wife Carrie and her three children, whom he has adopted. (Bradley has six children from a previous marriage)

Bradley is now continuing his rehabilitation in Dallas with the help of his wife Carrie and her three children, whom he has adopted. (Bradley has six children from a previous marriage)

Bradley pictured as he was stretched into an ambulance following his 2020 bike crash

Bradley pictured as he was stretched into an ambulance following his 2020 bike crash

Center Shawn Bradley of the Brigham Young Cougars stands on the court during a game

Prior to entering the NBA, the former BYU star famously did a two-year mission in Australia before entering the draft and being taken with the second pick by Philadelphia. Naturally, the 76ers gave their new 7-foot-6 center the No. 76 jersey

Prior to entering the NBA, the former BYU star famously did a two-year mission in Australia before entering the draft and being taken with the second pick by Philadelphia. Naturally, the 76ers gave their new 7-foot-6 center the No. 76 jersey 

As he explained, Bradley was riding his custom bicycle through a roundabout near his home, when he noticed a sedan parked on the shoulder ahead of him. Bradley said he signaled to move to his left, but when he attempted to move over, he was rear ended by a mother in a minivan who was on her way to pick up a child at school.

Bradley did not identify the woman for fear that she could be scrutinized publicly.

The impact sent Bradley back to his right, where his handlebars caught the rear of the parked sedan, sending his 300-pound frame frame flying over the car and onto the pavement.

As reported by SI, the driver of the minivan did not stop, but later returned to the scene. She has not been charged with a crime.

Bradley said he landed head first, cracking his helmet, and immediately began to panic as he struggled to move his limbs or even breath.

‘Am I going to suffocate?’ he remembered asking himself. ‘Am I going to die slowly?’

Bradley’s size was nearly a major problem for paramedics, who initially feared they’d be unable to fit him in the ambulance before managing to get the doors shut.

From there, he was taken into surgery and spent the next three weeks in ICU, relying on a breathing tube and slowly regaining the ability to move his arms and fingers.

The 7-foot-6 Bradley's feet are seen hanging off his hospital bed in Utah last year

The 7-foot-6 Bradley’s feet are seen hanging off his hospital bed in Utah last year

As he explained, Bradley was riding his custom bicycle through a roundabout near his home, when he noticed a sedan parked on the shoulder ahead of him. Bradley said he signaled to move to his left, but when he attempted to move over, he was rear ended by a mother in a minivan who was on her way to pick up a child at school

As he explained, Bradley was riding his custom bicycle through a roundabout near his home, when he noticed a sedan parked on the shoulder ahead of him. Bradley said he signaled to move to his left, but when he attempted to move over, he was rear ended by a mother in a minivan who was on her way to pick up a child at school

He’s now continuing his rehabilitation in Dallas with the help of his wife Carrie and her three children, whom he has adopted. (Bradley has six children from a previous marriage)

Unfortunately, Bradley’s injury, age, and size will continue to complicate his life going forward.

As SI reported, Bradley’s specific spinal cord injury increases risk for cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, blood clots, and other issues.

Bradley became an avid cyclist after retiring from the NBA in 2005, saying that the hobby helped him shed over 30 pounds at one point thanks, in part, to several rides of 100 miles

Bradley became an avid cyclist after retiring from the NBA in 2005, saying that the hobby helped him shed over 30 pounds at one point thanks, in part, to several rides of 100 miles

‘His size adds a bigger complexity,’ said Philip Lamoreaux, Bradley’s occupational therapist.'[It’s going to] affect his ability to participate in life as he gets older.’

And living won’t be cheap for Bradley, who did nearly $70 million in salary as a player and remains on the NBA health plan.

Treatments for spinal cord patients like Bradley can run between $300,000 and $1 million for the first year alone, and possibly $5 million over the life of the patient.

A typical day for Bradley is a non-stop battle against bedsores, which he prevents by moving his legs and knees with the help of straps. Even in the middle of the night, Bradley needs to wake up every three hours just to move his limbs.

A caregiver cleans him, dresses him, aids in any bowel movements, and helps him get into his specially designed, 500-pound wheelchair, which can be a 15-minute process.

Bradley hopes to help others in his situation by raising awareness about spinal cord injuries and bike accidents, which claim the lives of more than 800 Americans each year. In fact, 7-foot-4 former Jazz center Mark Eaton died at 64 last May after crashing his bike in Park City, Utah. 

The impact of the crash has been throughout his family.

‘It’s not just the person that’s involved in the accident,’ Carrie Bradley told SI. ‘It’s a domino effect. Our family has been forever changed.’

Bradley hopes to help others in his situation by raising awareness about spinal cord injuries and bike accidents, which claim the lives of more than 800 Americans annually. In fact, 7-foot-4 former Jazz center Mark Eaton (pictured) died at 64 in May after crashing his bike in Park City

Bradley hopes to help others in his situation by raising awareness about spinal cord injuries and bike accidents, which claim the lives of more than 800 Americans annually. In fact, 7-foot-4 former Jazz center Mark Eaton (pictured) died at 64 in May after crashing his bike in Park City

Although he has tried to remain positive, Bradley could not help but express sadness over the challenges his family now faces going forward.

‘I don’t know how I can ease the burden of me,’ Bradley said.

Bradley, a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, retired from the NBA after the 2005 season.

became an avid cyclist after retiring from the NBA in 2005, saying that the hobby helped him shed over 30 pounds at one point thanks, in part, to several rides of 100 or more miles.

In 2011, he told The Associated Press what cycling had meant to him.

‘It’s changed my body (composition) and when I ride the bike in the morning, I want to eat healthy the rest of the day,’ he said. ‘It’s a mental game I play with myself.’

Prior to entering the league, the former BYU star famously did a two-year mission in Australia.

Despite the time away from basketball, Bradley was still chosen with the second pick of the 1993 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, who gave their new 7-foot-6 center the No. 76.

In his third season, Bradley was traded to the Nets in exchange for Derrick Coleman, and later ended up in Dallas as part of the deal that sent Sam Cassell and Jim Jackson to New Jersey.

It was with the Mavericks that Bradley hit his stride in the NBA, averaging 2.1 blocks a game over nine seasons.

Bradley (seen here defending Chris Webber, who was taken ahead of him in the 1993 NBA Draft) turned himself into a solid defensive center, leading the league in blocks one season

Bradley (seen here defending Chris Webber, who was taken ahead of him in the 1993 NBA Draft) turned himself into a solid defensive center, leading the league in blocks one season

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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