A motivational speaker who physically cannot talk brought a message louder than words spoke Monday to all four Burke County high schools.

Sean Carter, 32, was a passenger in a drunk driving car crash more than 10 years ago that left him with a traumatic brain injury and unable to walk.

After many years of therapy, his thinking faculties work correctly, but it’s the physical deficiencies that are holding him back.

Sean now speaks through a machine hooked up to his iPad. He is able to type words into the iPad which transmits them through a speaker. Sean calls himself a motivational typist.

He and his mother, Jenny Carter, are originally from Texas and have traveled to several states across the country to spread Sean’s message of not only how drinking and driving is dangerous, but riding with someone who has been drinking could be fatal.

“He was just like you 10 and a half years ago. He could have walked into this gym, high-fived his friends, hugged his girlfriend or called me on his cellphone,” Jenny said at the presentation at Patton High School on Monday.

On March 27, 2005, he went out to a couple bars with two friends and was not aware of how much alcohol they had consumed.

“On the way home, the driver lost control and the truck spun into a tree right where Sean was sitting,” said Jenny. “When the truck spun, Sean seat belted in the truck, spun and slammed into a tree and folded around him. His body could not move to the left or to the right.”

When the truck stopped, Sean’s head continued to move from side to side and as it did his brain rubbed up against the inside of his skull.

The wreck did heavy damage to the right side of his body and he now has a nail inside of the femur. He has four screws in his hip, as well as screws and a metal plate in his right arm, which was fractured. His right lung was collapsed, his bladder was ruptured, and his liver and spleen were torn, among other injuries, said Jenny.

“He was one of those college guys that on the weekend thought that what they needed to do was get drunk,” Jenny said. “You will see from his life story that it was a waste of time.”

They showed a music video from the band Simple Plan called “Untitled,” which portrayed a daughter being hit by a drunk driver and how it affects family members and friends.

“I felt a kick in my stomach and my back hit the wall and I felt it for years,” Jenny said describing the moment she found out her son was in a car crash.

Sean’s wheelchairs slowly raised him up to be in a standing position as he prepared to speak to students.

“I stand here in my wheelchair looking at you thinking how I was once just like all of you,” Sean said. “I was not born needing a wheelchair. Choices I’ve made got me here.”

He started drinking alcohol in high school and would often go to friend’s houses to party when their parents were gone.

After he finished high school, he traveled up to New York City and pursued a modeling career to help pay for college.

“For some people, getting drunk is one of the most important things you could do in college,” Sean said.

He explained how all his friends were drinking and how he wanted to be cool like them.

“I wish I would have tried to live my life apart from others,” Sean said.

Sean gave a challenge to the student body that he hopes will inspire them to make better choices.

“I challenge you to do what is different,” Sean said. “I challenge you to not drink until you are of legal age, be the example of why it is good to live a life alcohol free until you are of legal age. I wish someone would have given me that challenge.”

He told students to think of him before they got in the car with someone who had been drinking or when they are about to change the radio while talking on their cellphone.

“Everyone is so easy going about the crime of drunk driving,” Sean said. “It is a crime. When will we start treating it like one?”

Sean believes his mother to be his angel and couldn’t thank her enough for the support she’s given him.

“Don’t drink and drive and please don’t make my mistake and ride with someone who has been drinking,” Sean said. “And listen to momma. She really does know best.”

After the presentation was over, numerous students lined up to meet and take pictures with Sean.

Gretchen Costner, a member of the Valdese Pilot Club, along with Jodi Powell, asked the Carter's to speak so students would be exposed to his story.

“Hopefully, they will think twice before making a bad decision, whether it is drinking or some other decision that could be damaging for their future and I think that is what Sean wants to get across,” Costner said. “It’s not all about the drinking part; it was the decision to get in the car with someone who was drinking.”

The Pilot Club of Valdese hosted the event and is thankful for the sponsors that helped make it happen. Sponsors include Eerie Insurance, Rostan Family Foundation, Carolinas Healthcare Blue Ridge, Morganton Honda, Viscotec and Sossoman Funeral Home.

For more information about When Sean Speaks, the organization they have started, visit

Source: The News Herald


Last updated on: 2015-10-08 | Link to this post