Fourteen years ago, Sean Carter was like many young people. He was working full-time, attending college and along with his friends would go out for a drink or two at area bars. In 2005, the night before Easter Sunday, Sean went out to the bars with his buddies. While on his way home, as the passenger, he was involved in a single vehicle, drunk driving crash.
The careful plan that he had made to attain his degree in business administration and go onto law school was lost. Sean, who 22-years-old at the time, became a poly-trauma statistic, with multiple fractures, internal injuries and worst of all, suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, Sean was diagnosed with one of the worst types of TBI, a severe diffuse axonal injury, which encompasses the whole brain.
Sean emerged from a 39 day coma and was unable to walk or talk. His mother, Jenny Carter, had to gain guardianship of him because of his inability to communicate and his loss of motor ability.
But with the belief of some of his caregivers, and the persistence of his mother, Sean began the journey back to personhood and communicating by typing his thoughts into a tablet, which, spoke the words that he typed out. So began his career as a public speaker.
Sean and his mother shared their message to Guthrie High School students last week in conjunction with this year’s prom.
Sean was born in Denison, Texas on January 11, 1983. He graduated from S&S Consolidated High School in 2001, and attended Grayson County Community College where he was modeling for the Campbell Agency in Dallas.
Sean, now 36-years-old, lives with his mother in College Station, Texas.
In 2007, Sean began sharing his message of the dangers of drunk driving at the Lou Sterrett Justice Center, in Dallas, speaking at MADD Victim’s Impact Panels. Through coverage in the Dallas Morning News, Sean’s new career was launched. He and his mother formed WhenSeanSpeaks and in 2010 the company incorporated and was granted a non-profit status. During this time, Sean also worked to improve his physical self.
In 2013, he was awarded his personhood back and in January 2015 went to his social security office and notified them of his desire to give up his monthly disability benefit.
In 2013, WhenSeanSpeaks Inc. contracted with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to do presentations at 15 venues, as subgrantees of a Texas Department of Transportation Grant.
In 2014, WhenSeanSpeaks Inc. was awarded a $93,000 grant to do 50 presentations. Their partnership with the Watch UR BAC program has continued now through this year and hopefully in the coming years.
Sean and his mother now share their message encouraging others not to drink and drive, and are challenging young people to abstain from drinking until they are of legal age. In addition, Sean speaks about his faith and belief in Christ his Savior.
Sean has spoken in 11 states from Long Island, NY to Seattle, Washington and to more than 250,000 people in over 600 venues.
Although Sean cannot utter a word, his message is being heard loud and clear.