He lost control of his Harley-Davidson and crashed March 26, 1994.
Although he was wearing a helmet, he suffered a severe head injury
which left him in a coma for about a month and he has been recovering
Van paid for through Internet donations
gets paralyzed crash victim mobile again
By Barry Kawa,
Plain Dealer Reporter
CHARDON - Motorcyclists on the Internet are taking Eddie
Kieger beyond the confines of his nursing home room, thanks
to $12,000 they have raised to buy him a special van.
Three of those motorcyclists were at Heather Hill yesterday
in Chardon as Kieger, paralyzed in a riding accident three
years ago in California, got his new wheels.
His mother, Ann Kieger of Shaker Heights, bundled up her
son, and the rotary lift hoisted his wheelchair into the red
1988 Ford van. Kieger, 33, unable to speak since his accident,
"I think this will improve the quality of his life,"
said Shirl Grant, of Pittsburgh, who set up a World Wide Web
home page on the Internet for Kieger. "Eddie will be
able to get out and not just look at the four walls."
Grant, also a motorcycle enthusiast, corresponded with Kieger
on the Internet before his accident. Kieger, a Cleveland Heights
native, was working as a computer design engineer in Northern
California's Silicon Valley after he served four years in
His mother brought him first to a rehabilitation hospital in Erie,
Pa, then to Heather Hill.
Grant heard about Kieger's accident, and the need for a van, on
the Internet. When she asked for donations in mid-January, hundreds
of motorcyclists from places as far away as Guam, Spain and Finland
responded, giving more than $12,000. The WWW home page is at: http://www.psc.edu/~grant/eddie/index.html
"I can't conceive of any other group of people being consistently
this good," said his father, Edward F. Kieger II of Cleveland
Ann Kieger, A Shaker Heights real estate agent, said her son's
recovery has been hampered by the insurance company's refusal to
pay for therapy, saying his injury is too severe to respond. "With
a brain injury ... a doctor is very loathe to give you any sort
of encouragement for fear you'll hold them to it," she said.
"It's just a wait-and-see game."
Today, Eddie Kieger spends his days in a nursing home room with
two older residents. His therapy is limited to about a half-hour
a day. He also gets music therapy once a week, where brain injured
patients listen to music and play instruments.
His mother put a note over his radio for the nurses to let him
hear the "Car Talk" show because he used to love working
on cars and his Harley. She also brought in his computer, which
sits unused on a table near his bed. "I brought it in about
a year ago and we put his hand next to it and his face just lit
up," she said. "That was about a year ago, and he realized
he couldn't make it work, and the light just sort of died in his
eyes and he picked up the computer keyboard and turned it over."
Ann Kieger said her son is alert, and understands conversations,
although he has difficulty responding. His family is trying to get
him moved into Broadfield Manor in Madison, which deals more with
patients with spinal-cord and brain injuries, and he is now at the
top of the waiting list.
Yesterday, as the snow fell and his mother wrapped a blanket around
him, Eddie looked content in his new van. His family and Grant climbed
aboard, and his mother jumped behind the wheel. "He is liking
it very, very much," Ann Kieger said. "He is so delighted
and pleased with it."
They embarked down a road they hope someday will lead to a complete
recovery for Kieger.