At the opening of baseball season in 2011, Santa Cruz native Bryan Stow was in Los Angeles at Dodgers Stadium with friends watching his home team, the San Francisco Giants, square off against their longtime rivals whom these days we call the Bums. Leaving the stadium, Stow and his friends were blindsided by several attackers, all Dodgers fans, and after his skull hit the pavement Stow was left with permanent brain damage and a lengthy recovery process that is ongoing five years later. Now, as CNN is reporting, following three years of speech therapy, Stow has found a new calling as an anti-bullying speaker at California schools, delivering the powerful message that "Bullies destroyed my life and if left unchecked they could destroy you or your loved ones as well."
So far Stow, now 47, has made his presentation which includes powerful images of high school students who killed themselves after being bullied at 30 schools, and friends and family have set up the Bryan Stow Foundation to help fund travel to more schools out of state.
As Stow told the Examiner last week, he's been helped enormously by speech pathologist Brandy Dickinson, who started by taking him to preschools to begin practicing language skills with kids. Eventually he had to start answering them when they asked what happened to him, and they came up with the answer, "I was hurt by adult bullies." This led to the presentations for older kids and teens, and Stow says that Dickinson, "helps me focus and find the words."
In 2014, Stow's two attackers, Louis Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, pled guilty and received sentences of eight and four years, respectively. To those sentences, Stow still scoffs. To CNN he calls them both "filthy, dirty people" and says, "One got eight years, the other got four years. Baloney."
Later in 2014, Stow's family won an $18 million court settlement from the Dodgers and Dodgers Stadium, as compensatory damages to cover medical expenses and loss of employment. In the civil case jurors found that lack of safety protocols and proper lighting at the stadium were partly to blame for Stow's injuries. Unfortunately, since Sanchez and Norwood are technically 75 percent responsible, Stow's family is unlikely to see most of that money after attorney's fees, they're getting less than $6 million out of the settlement.
The video above depicts Stow's long journey of recovery since his attack on March 31, 2011. See the full CNN video here.