Picks and Pans Review: Happy to Be Alive

updated 12/12/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Darryl Stingley with Mark Mulvoy

The 32-year-old author was a wide receiver for the New England Patriots when, during a 1978 game with the Oakland Raiders, he was tackled by defensive back Jack Tatum. The result was a fractured spine, and Stingley has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since. This autobiography is upbeat, despite the fact that its best pages deal with the problems of facing life as a quadriplegic. After his playing career was cut short, Stingley got a financial settlement from the Patriots and the National Football League; but when Tatum published a book (They Call Me Assassin) boasting about his hyper-aggressive style, Stingley felt a bitterness that colors the last part of the book. Tatum got off without even a penalty, and Stingley is highly critical of NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. "To me, the solution to this pervasive violent atmosphere is relatively simple," Stingley says. "All the officials on the field have to do is enforce the rules of the game." Today Stingley lives apart from his two sons and their mother; a nurse and a secretary care for him. Mulvoy, author of a dozen sports books, is an assistant managing editor at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He has helped Stingley make his story a most moving one. (Beaufort, $13.95).

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