FORT WORTH, TX (CBSDFW.COM) – A TCU student moved into a new home near campus this month.
It’s more important than it seems when you hear all he’s overcome since a horrific accident attributed to fraternity hazing.
Joe Radanovich was a standout athlete and freshman at TCU, before his life took a dramatic turn during a road trip with other students in November 2020.
“We were all tired, it’s unfortunate that this happened but I remember waking up in hospital, the first thing I told them was to call my dad,” Radanovich said.
The 20-year-old has been paralyzed from the waist down since that night 19 months ago.
He was in a car with other fraternity pledges on a treasure hunt through Texas, when the student driving fell asleep.
Their vehicle wrecked and overturned.
“There were a lot of tough times the first two days, it was a lot of ‘it’s going to be okay, it always happens, I can do it, I recovered from injuries before’ and then as it lasted longer, kind of settles into reality, you get a little bit of a reality check, okay, it’s here to stay,” Radanovich said.
He spent 10 days in intensive care followed by four months of rehabilitation.
But this remarkable student barely missed a beat despite this.
“I finished my first semester in the hospital, in intensive care,” Radanovich said. “I passed my final at USI. I was able to return to campus for my second year.”
Last week, Radanovich moved into a wheelchair-accessible house his family renovated just off campus.
Her goal is to lose the wheelchair by the time she graduates.
“What a story would it be if I graduated on time and the goal was to take that step, but more importantly found myself,” he said.
Radanovich relies on the encouraging words tattooed on his forearms to achieve this.
Radanovich filed a lawsuit against TCU and the fraternity for hazing issues related to his accident.
He said he personally had no ill will against either, but what happened to him reveals the devastating consequences of brotherhood initiations.
“You don’t have to be in a fraternity,” Radanovich said. “I still have a lot of my good friends even though I’m not in a fraternity. You find your people.”
And if you are Joe Radanovich, you also find your way.
“As for the future, they only gave me a 5-10% chance of walking, but I always defied all odds,” he said.
TCU has yet to release a statement on the lawsuit.