Dan Meers is the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs. He remembers a rehearsal gone terribly wrong, and his thankfulness for what happened after.
- My job description,if you go to my office
up in Arrowhead Stadium,it says AC Wolf Director
That's what is on myname plate at my office.
- [Reporter] Den Meershas been entertaining
Kansas City Chiefs fansfor almost 30 years as
the team mascot the KC Wolf.
He first donned a mascotoutfit while in college
at the University ofMissouri as their mascot
Shruman the Tiger.
- For four years, I gotto do college football,
and basketball, and other sporting events.
And community events, I justhad a lot of fun doing it.
Never dreaming that itwas eventually gonna turn
into my career.
- [Reporter] Dan is thelongest performing mascot
in professional sportsand the first inducted
into the mascot hall of fame.
With every Chiefs home game,he has opportunities to try
new skits and stunts.
- We're always looking for ways to take
it to the net level.
We're always trying to think,what will the fans enjoy?
And I had seen anothermascot who had zip lined into
this stadium, and Ithought that'd be awesome.
I thought we'll trythat out and so I jumped
down basically zipped across the stadium,
and then they lowered me to the field,
the crowd just loved it.
So later that season, wethought you know what,
we'll do it again, butwe don't want to do the
exact same thing, wewant to kind of mix it up
so its new and fresh.
And so they're like, we cando a bungee jump with it.
- [Reporter] The daybefore debuting the stunt,
he did a test jump without the costume
that went horribly wrong.
- When I jumped out of thelights, because of the slack
that was still in thezip line that day instead
of falling 20 feet, I fellapproximately 70 to 75 feet.
And I hit the seats in the upperlevel at Arrowhead Stadium.
- [Reporter] His fall broke two seats
out of the stadium's concrete.
But it was Dan's body thattook most of the impact.
- I wasn't sure what all had happened.
I knew I'd never felt painlike that before in my life.
- [Reporter] Dan brokehis back and seven ribs
along with his tailbone and sacrum.
He also had a collapsed lungand struggled to breathe.
As he was lowered to thefield, a friend rushed
to his side and prayed for him.
- It was a good reminderthat God's in control.
He had someone there inplace that was gonna come
pray for me and just kind of my reminder
that hey, I'm here,and it's gonna be okay.
- [Reporter] The following day,
Dan had two titaniumrods surgically implanted
in his back to secure his spine.
He awoke from surgery thankful to be alive
but wondering why God allowedthis accident to happen.
- There were times where Iwould just be sitting there
in so much pain, I'd belike God, I really don't
like this plan.
And I told him that.
And but he reminded me yeah, trust me.
I'll get you through this.
- [Reporter] After ninedays in the hospital,
Dan went home, where thenext six months he endured
grueling rehab and physical therapy.
For a time, Dan struggled emotionally,
until he heard a messageon Christian radio
- It says every morningyou wake up, everybody's
got something to complainabout, everybody's
got something to be thankful for.
He said whichever oneyou choose to focus on
is gonna determine yourattitude for the day.
And I still remember sitting in my car,
tears running down my face,that's shocking I know.
And but I realized that Godjust taught me a valuable lesson
I learned that yeah, I cancomplain about my seven
broken ribs or I can choose to be thankful
I had 17 good ones that weren't broken.
I realized I could complainabout my collapsed left lung
that still wasn't completely healed.
Or I can be thankful I hadtwo lungs and the other
one was working just fine.
There's all kinds ofthings I can complain about
but that day I stoppedand I remember, I told God
thank you for my pain.
And that's really hardto do, I think I'm pretty
good about thanking him for my blessings,
but saying thank you for pain is hard.
But I did, I thanked himbecause I realized if I couldn't
feel pain, I'd be deador I'd be paralyzed.
Then I thought about that,death, paralysis, or pain.
I got the best one outta the three.
I tell people, I still wakeup with pain every morning.
God reminds me I get to make a choice,
if I get outta bed I canchoose to rise and shine,
or I can choose to rise and whine.
And I don't want to be a whiner.
You see, whiners do notmake a positive impact
for Jesus Christ in this world.
As believers we're calledto get out and make
a difference in our world andto shine the love of Christ
wherever we go.
- [Reporter] Amazingly,by the start of the next
football season, Dan washealthy enough to be back
in the wolf suit once again.
- You know I knew I was backto doing what I loved doing
and putting on a costumeand entertaining fans
at Arrowhead Stadium.
I was just so excited to be back and
I came home that night just on cloud nine.
I was worn out, but Iwas excited knowing that
yeah, my body was strongenough to continue
to do what I loved doing.
- [Reporter] Dan wrotea book about his career,
recovery, and God'sfaithfulness through it all
entitled Wolves Can't Fly.
He continues to inspirepeople as the KC Wolf.
And also with histestimony of thankfulness
in the midst of pain.
- I've had people sayyou're lucky to be alive.
I don't believe I'm lucky to be alive,
I do believe I'm blessed.
One thing he has shownme is just how incredibly
good he is, how incredibly thankful he is.
And on the good days,even on the rough days
that he's still on the throne.
God's principles, God'spromises, have never changed.
They're always reliableno matter how severe
or how painful the situation is.
I know God loves me, andI read that every morning
in his word, he loves me.
I also know that he's gota good plan for my life.
And I'm just grateful thatI get to walk with him
each and every step in this journey.