Dennis Byrd

Biography Project for Mrs. Hemry's 8th Grade Language Arts Class

made by Jared G.

Dennis Byrd

Dennis Byrd was born on October 5, 1966 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died at age 63 of a heart attack on July 15, 2010.

Significant Events in History
that Affected Dennis's Life

  • Lived in Oklahoma where tornadoes were common,  where a constant threat of danger exists.
  • His brothers convinced him to do crazy stunts and that caused him to visit the ER many times.
  • Moved to California in the fourth grade where racial tensions were high and fighting was common.
  • The oil boom in Oklahoma was winding down and that was hard on his family.
  • When his Nanna died in 1981, his family moved back to Oklahoma.
His book

Dennis's Childhood

As a kid Dennis had a knack for getting into trouble. Once he and his friend lit a tree on fire with a flaming arrow, another time he put a hole in their roof during a storm. Getting a good spanking after those stunts he pulled was good enough punishment. After he moved to California, he and his brothers saw real high racial tensions. He had never seen this before. Once he and his brothers were walking home, two black kids were riding their bikes. They rode by and kicked his brothers each twice then one decided to punch Dennis. Just as one reared back to punch him, his brothers stopped him and beat the two boys up. When Dennis and his brothers got home, the two other boys had told their parents their story, but they told them as if they jumped them.

People Who Influenced Dennis's Life

  • His father - He taught him how to play football. He was there when Dennis signed his papers for the University of Tulsa.
  • His brothers, Danny and Doug - Taught him that all injuries can be overcome, because they put him in the ER many times.
  • His sister, Jeni- Encouraged him to not think he couldn't over come his injury, when he kept calling himself a Quadriplegic.

Unique facts

  • He went to the University of Tulsa.
  • He helped the police catch a crook.
  • He was a Christian.
  • He suffered a spinal injury.
  • In his neck he had three metal plates and nine screws in his spine.


  • Was able to walk after his injury.
  • Was able to drive after his injury.
  • He was drafted by the Jets.
  • He worked so hard after his injury that, the Jets players created the Dennis Byrd award.
  • He helped others with similar injuries.
After the hit.

The Theme of Dennis's life was...

The theme of this book was faith, because he believed he could overcome his injury. So he could have a normal life without having trouble doing simple things.

After his injury

Dennis's words of advice and what he taught me...

  • "I had two cards taped to the wall by my bed. One said,"I can't," the other said,"Never". These were two phrases that I would not allow my self to say or think." pg 193
  • "But I understood that that was part of the challenge, part of the test, to accept the not knowing and face it with faith." pg 148
  • "It's knowing that all of life is a blessing. That all the Lord is with us even if we falter, He is with us even if we fail He is with us when we break, and He can help to make us whole."

I learned from Dennis Byrd that you could overcome anything.


"Dennis Byrd." N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.

Byrd, Dennis, and Michael D'Orso. "The Rise & Walk of Dennis Byrd." N.p., n.d. Web.

Dennis Byrd. N.d. Web.

Dennis Byrd Injury. N.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

Dennis Byrd Injury 2. N.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

Jets Coin Toss. N.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

Dennis Byrd Photo. N.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.,204,203,200_.jpg.

Dennis Byrd Photo. N.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

Dennis Byrd Photo. N.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Excellent job following the expectations of this assignment! 😀