Scott Burrows was a star athlete and fierce competitor. By the age of 19, he played college football at Florida State University as a wide receiver under Coach Bobby Bowden and was a top ranked kick-boxing champion, with his last fight broadcast by ESPN. Prior to that, Scott played four years of high school golf and football and earned his Black Belt in Pai Lum Kung Fu. In his senior year, he turned down football scholarships from smaller division schools to play at Florida State, as a scholarship was not offered there. To keep in shape, Scott ran track. He competed in many different events, broke two school records-the 440 relay and the triple jump-then took the 880-yard run to the state finals, finishing sixth and was voted MVP by his peers.
During the height of Scott’s collegiate career, his life changed dramatically and abruptly on November 3, 1984. He survived a horrific car crash, suffering a serious spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. Doctors told him that no two quadriplegics are the same, that how badly a spinal cord is damaged determines the extent of paralysis. He was told that he might get some movement back in his arms, which is not uncommon; however, the seriousness of his injury would keep him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Scott spent the next six months in the hospital fighting for his life while enduring numerous potentially fatal complications. In one 45-day period of time, he battled a severe case of pneumonia, followed by a 103-degree fever and three stress-related stomach ulcers. Then, one evening, Scott lost his breath, his right lung collapsed, and he watched his body weight plummet 40 pounds. Soon thereafter, a large mass was detected in his right lung, which turned out to be a pulmonary embolism-the same type of embolism that took the life of NBC correspondent David Bloom while he was covering the war in Iraq. Once these complications subsided, Scott’s doctors performed a 7 1/2 hour spinal fusion surgery to stabilize cervical 6 and 7 vertebrates in his neck.
Despite his grim diagnosis, Scott refused to me sidelined. After six months of intense physical therapy, Scott astonished everyone, including his doctors, by turning an impossible goal of standing again into a reality. In addition to his new life, he started competing again, only this time in a completely different sport called Full-Contact Wheelchair Rugby-otherwise known as Murderball, a Paralympic Sport.
Scott enrolled back into college and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of South Florida. After graduation, he entered the insurance and financial industry as a financial advisor. In his 5th year, he qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table, a 100% commission-driven award that less than 8% of his peers from all companies around the world qualify for yearly. At the pinnacle of that career, Scott decided to make a change and partner with his brother Mark as a venture capitalist. Together, they formed an international golf course development company, doing business in Southeast Asia. That company still thrives today.
Back in 1994, during a sales conference, Scott had the privilege of hearing motivational speaker Charlie Plumb share his story of overcoming adversity as a Prisoner of War. As a navy pilot, Charlie was shot down behind enemy lines and spent the next six years in a prison camp. Scott was so intrigued that it inspired him to share his own story with the world. Today, as a motivational keynote speaker, Scott has presented to organizations, associations and Fortune 500 companies and has been invited to kick off corporate conferences in Australia, India, Spain, Bermuda, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Canada.
Scott has co-authored the book “Conversations on Success” and has written his own, “Vision-Mindset-Grit,” which details success strategies and standing up to any challenge. In addition, Scott is involved in the Believing Tampa Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps spinal cord injured patients to become healthier and more active in their community.
On March 18, 2016, 12,000 feet above sea level, in Vail, Colorado, along a ridge known as China Bowl, Scott proposed to Kim Fedele, his girlfriend of 3 years with whom he reconnected at his 30th high school reunion. And…she said “yes!”
Scott has transcended his circumstances to become an expert on transformational change as well as an in-demand inspirational speaker all over the world.