From motorcycle wreck to making music: Justin Chain hopes to inspire others
Last fall, Channel 3 told the story of Tennessee Valley’s Justin Chain. The Fort Payne native was eliminated on NBC’s hit singing competition show “The Voice” in October. But he said his entire life has been about beating the odds and making strong comebacks. Ask Justin about odds and he’ll tell you he shouldn’t be alive much less walking today.
"Don't really remember a whole lot of it. Don't really remember any of it,” said Justin Chain. "The last thing I remember, the morning of my accident, I was about a .25 mile away from where I had the accident. That's about all I remember.”
Justin Chain reflects on the October 2008 day that started out just him and a motorcycle in his home town of Fort Payne, Ala. A Trailblazer hit the teen and threw him 40 feet. Erlanger’s LIFE FORCE flew Chain to Chattanooga, where doctors called the 18-year-old’s mom.
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"They told her and my dad that they needed to hurry up to Erlanger because I may not be there when they got there,” he said.
Chain had compound fractures, a broken back and pelvis and dislocated hips. The bike’s foot peg went through his left leg and had his right knee completely rebuilt. To this day, Chain says he’s had about 500 stitches, 78 screws and 12 plates.
"But originally they told me I may never walk again and may never have use of my right hand,” Chain said. "There's no way I could let that happen, you know, I will walk. I will get back to normal."
But Chain surprised all his doctors.
After a shorter-than-expected stay in the hospital and a little therapy, Justin wasn’t just walking; he’d soon be strutting and singing on a national stage. He appeared on “The Voice” last fall on NBC.
READ MORE | Justin's story in his own words
Justin knows there’s a large team of Erlanger doctors and nurses that saved his life. He met some of the LIFE FORCE crew this month in the same hangar where he was confined to a stretcher 5.5 years ago.
Every timee I come up here, I'm reminded of everything I've been through but at the same time, I'm reminded of how far I've come since everything happened,” Chain said.
"I really hope that my story will inspire somebody or motivate somebody going through a rough time in their life."
Chain said overcoming the wreck has given him more drive and motivation. He’s never used crutches and he’s back on motorcycles. And even after elimination on “The Voice,” the Ft. Payne native is moving to Nashville, planning a full-band tour and making an album. It’s the comeback story of Justin Chain.
"Don't waste time. If you have a dream, follow it,” Chain said. “If you have a dream, chase it. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't or won't do something. If you want it bad enough then do whatever it is you need to do from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed to make sure that you get it done."
Chain has a show planned for June 28 at Liberty Fest in East Ridge.