PDA

View Full Version : Greg Page (1958-2009)



MastaFighta
5/10/2009 3:13pm,
http://static.boxrec.com/wiki/8/8d/Greg_Page.jpg

Greg Page, former WBA heavyweight champion from Louisville, Kentucky, with a record of 58 wins, 48 by KO, 17 losses and 1 draw has died from complications resulting from injuries he received during a match in 2001 against Dale Crowe.


She has closed the door to his room, and can finally sleep through the night. Yet sometimes when she wakes, and the house is quiet, Patricia Page hears her husband calling her.

"For the last eight years of my life, it's revolved around Greg," she said. "It's going to be really strange to get used to not having that."

We all face crises in life. Some turn out to be minor, some are major, others will be with us forever. All of them ask us to make the same tough choice: Stand and fight, or fall apart?

For Patricia Page, the decision was obvious. And by standing tall, she held her husband up, too.

Boxer Greg Page died in the early hours of April 27, eight years after a brutal brain injury robbed the former heavyweight champion of his mobility and parts of his memory. That it couldn't steal his dignity is a testament to his wife's love and strength.

The man who doctors once feared wouldn't last through the night went to concerts, fished, showed up at fights and, for a few years, at least, enjoyed those milkshakes and White Castle burgers he loved so much.

"Women are natural care givers. We just pitch in and do what we've got to do," Patricia said. "And he had nobody else, so I took all the responsibility on me."

Greg Page had a great jab and moved well, and people in Louisville were hailing him as "the next Ali" before he could drive. He was 26 when he stunned Gerrie Coetzee on Dec. 1, 1984, to win the WBA title.

But he held the title a mere five months, and never got a shot at it again as his career unraveled amid financial difficulties and personal problems.

By the time he got involved with Patricia, an old high school friend, he'd moved back to Louisville. The year was 2000 and Page was north of 40, but he was still clinging to the dream. George Foreman had won the heavyweight title when he was 45. If Page could win a few fights, beat a few decent names, maybe he'd got one last shot at the title.

Instead, he went down in the closing seconds of a $1,500 fight against little-known Dale Crowe at ramshackle Peel's Palace in Erlanger, Ky.

The ringside doctor — who wasn't licensed in Kentucky — initially pronounced him fine. But Page had suffered a serious brain injury. With no oxygen or emergency medical staff on site, his condition quickly worsened. There was no ambulance at the fight, either, further delaying his arrival at the hospital.

During surgery to reduce the swelling on his brain, he had a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body. He was in a coma for a week.

"It was a terrifying time," Patricia said. "When he started waking up out of the coma, he had such a look of fear in his eyes. And when he saw me, it seemed like that kind of pacified him a little bit.

"I knew I couldn't bail on him."

Neither, though, did she know how they would make it. They weren't even married yet, there wasn't much money. Greg didn't have insurance and Patricia had two young daughters at home. And a brain injury? Partial paralysis? Patricia had no idea how to care for someone with those disabilities.

But with help from her children, she plowed forward.

"We're not saints by any stretch of the imagination," said Teisha Page, Patricia's oldest daughter. "That was just the way it was. It was what we were to do."

Teisha, then 19 and living about a half-hour away, moved home, taking care of her little sisters while her mother stayed at the hospital with Greg. A first-floor room was converted into a bedroom, complete with a hospital bed.

Though he could talk, write and had some mobility, Greg needed constant care. He couldn't get out of bed, his wheelchair or recliner without someone to lift and place him in his new spot. He needed help changing, bathing and shaving.

When he'd get infections, antibiotics would be delivered by IV, which meant ports and lines to monitor and clear. For the last two years, he was fed through a tube. Health care workers offered only brief respites.

The brain injury wreaked havoc with Greg's short-term memory, too. With an endless list of medications, someone had to make sure he took them all. Because bedsores could form if he didn't turn frequently, Patricia would check on him every couple of hours — even in the middle of the night.

"The things Patricia did — it's even difficult for me to fathom," said Dennis Page, Page's older brother.

"They had an Aerostar, which was not a handicap-accessible van. So they would have to pick him up, put him in the van, buckle him in, fold his chair up, put his chair in the van, drive him. And then repeat this process wherever he was going.

"They did that by themselves."

Indeed, for the first few years after Greg was injured, Patricia shouldered the burden — and the expenses — for Greg's care on her own.

They had married in October 2001. Patricia's jobs, first as a unit secretary at Frazier Rehab Institute, where Greg did therapy, and now handling customer complaints at the Metropolitan Sewer District, covered some of the medical bills. But his prescriptions alone cost them $300 a month, and the co-payments for his hospital stays — and there were many — started at $200.

A lawsuit against Kentucky boxing officials was settled for $1.2 million in 2007. But take out attorney fees and what was owed to the insurance companies, and there wasn't a whole lot left for the Pages.

Four years ago, exhausted and emotionally spent, Patricia and Greg called Dennis. The brothers had been through a falling out several years earlier, but it was forgotten when Dennis picked up the phone.

"I'm the big brother. He said to me, 'My big brother's coming,'" Dennis said, choking up.

Dennis, who runs a youth home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, thought his help would be largely financial. When he got to Louisville, however, he discovered Greg and Patricia's needs were much bigger. He asked Patricia to show him her routine, teach him how to take care of his brother.

It took three days.

On the first night after Dennis had gotten up to speed, Patricia was asleep by 9 p.m. She slept straight through until the next morning.

"I woke up with a start and realized, 'Wait a minute, I've got to take care of Greg,'" Patricia said. "I came flying down the stairs and Dennis said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa. Patricia, I got this.' It was very comforting."

The laundry list of challenges Greg and Patricia faced prompted Dennis to start The Greg Page Foundation, which links people with disabilities to the support, services and treatment they need. Eventually, they hope to have a community-based facility offering therapy and resources.

Dennis would spend three months with his brother, go home for a few weeks and then return to Louisville. The more time he spent with Greg and Patricia, the angrier he got. Where were all those other family members and friends?

Patricia had asked — no, begged — people to visit Greg. She wasn't looking for help with his care, just spend time with him as they used to. Once, she even offered to pay a family member.

Time and again, she was rebuffed.

"Their response was, 'I can't stand to see him the way he is,'" she said. "My response back was, 'You can come and see him the way he is when he can still talk to you, or you can talk to a headstone.'"

Greg never questioned his fate. He even befriended Crowe, who blames the crushing guilt he felt over causing Page's injuries for his own downward spiral. Crowe is currently serving a 20-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

Greg didn't waste time with self-pity, either — not that his loved ones would have let him.

When Laila Ali fought at the Louisville Gardens in 2003, Greg was there.

After Teisha got him hooked on 'N Sync and Justin Timberlake, they road-tripped to Chicago for a concert along with her best friend.

Dennis would crank up a radio and yell, "Come on, Gregory Edward, let's jam!" and he and Greg would move and groove. Last summer, they rounded up a group and went fishing.

"Greg caught his first fish," Dennis said, proudly.

"I'm not the smartest guy on the planet, but it seems to me, when a person has a disability, they're still a human being."

In and out of the hospital since the injury, Greg's condition worsened the last two years. Not only was he unable to eat, he had frequent kidney and blood infections and pneumonia — often at the same time.

Last December, he suffered seizures during therapy at home and was unconscious by the time he got to the hospital. Though he survived, Patricia said he never really bounced back.

On April 27, she checked on Greg at 3 a.m. and went back to sleep. She awoke for work at 5 a.m., fed their dogs and then went to check on her husband. Oh, she thought, he's fallen out of bed again.

When she looked more closely, however, she realized he was gone.

"He had a look of peace on his face," Patricia said, her voice cracking.

"For an athlete to come to a position where he can't run anymore, can't do anything physical anymore, hasn't been able to eat for over two years, it's really difficult. So I know he's in a better place, I know he's no longer suffering."

Her struggles, however, will continue. The bills for Greg's medical care are in the six figures. When asked if she'd take any time for herself, she simply smiled.

Yet as family and friends gathered for a party after the funeral — complete with Greg's beloved White Castle — Patricia seemed at peace, too.

"I promised Greg, I don't know what the future holds, but I will take care of you and make sure you have the best care for whatever time you have. And I did that," she said. "At the end of the day, I can hold my head up high."Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090510/ap_on_re_us/box_page_s_best_fight;_ylt=Arq2XnENm7tVtWv2Dyrh86O s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTJvcmYzdnNxBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwNTE wL2JveF9wYWdlX3NfYmVzdF9maWdodARjcG9zAzEwBHBvcwMxO ARzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNoZWF2eXdlaWdodHM-

Link to the Greg Page Foundation website - http://www.gregpagefoundation.com/

It often amuses me how people are quick to label boxing as "just a sport," when in reality, the dangers and risks are very real. And not to mention, unpredictable. But, regardless of the dangers and risks, boxers like Greg Page still stepped into the ring and came out of their corner punching.

Rest in peace, champ.

PizDoff
5/14/2009 1:33pm,
All the way from 2001 eh? That's a long fight. RIP