Paralyzed man achieves dream of becoming an attorney - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Paralyzed man achieves dream of becoming an attorney

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If you have ever said you can't do something, you might want to spend a few minutes with the man you are about to meet.

Nine years ago, his life changed in an instant. But what did not change was his desire to overcome the challenges he faces every day.

What happened in Annapolis on Tuesday shows determination can turn dreams into reality.

As a kid, Josh Basile played tennis, went to the beach and always stayed on the move.

"Because with your voice and a strong mind, anything's possible,” he said.

But in 2004, life took an unexpected turn when at 18 years old, Basile was injured on Bethany Beach.

"I turned my back to the ocean and a wave picked me up and dropped me on my head and I shattered my neck,” he said. “And since then, I've been a quadriplegic.”

Basile spent five weeks on breathing tube and the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But while his body may have been stilled, his spirit was not.

"People have never told me what I can and cannot do – to my face at least," said Basile.

He has thrown himself into advocating for the disabled: giving motivational speeches and showing others how even the toughest obstacles can be overcome.

Basile has a lot of experience in overcoming adversity, but it is that experience that he needed to put to work to achieve his goal of becoming a lawyer.

Inside a packed Maryland Court of Appeals, there was Basile raising his right hand as high as he could to be sworn into the bar as an attorney at law.

"I put so many long hours and hard work into getting to this point in my life, and this morning I was there and I just really don't want this feeling to go away,” he said.

Attorney Josh Basile will practice malpractice law -- an ironic choice for the son of a doctor.

"When he was a little boy in school, he was a terrible student,” his father Dr. John Basile said laughingly. “I mean the only A’s he got was physical education."

Jack Olender, the boss at his new law firm, said Basile’s life story gives him a viewpoint few lawyers have.

“He has the empathy and he understands what it is to be injured,” Olender said.

Basile hopes others can now look at him and understand they can do anything.

"The truth is you just have to have a creative mindset to get where you need to go, and if you're passionate enough about it, you'll find your way,” he said.

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