Mark Kram, Jr.’s new book, Like Any Normal Day, tells the true story of life and death of a man and the people who loved and cared for him. Kram, a longtime writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, joined Bill Littlefield on Only A Game this week to discuss the story, which centers on a horrible sports accident.
Bill’s thoughts on Like Any Normal Day:
The man at the center of Mark Kram Jr.’s new book is Buddy Miley, an accomplished and cocky high school quarterback whose neck was broken during a football game in Pennsylvania in 1973.
Miley came to the attention of Kram 19 years after the accident when Rosemarie Miley, Buddy’s mother, wrote a letter to Sports Illustrated. She described life in her home as “hell on earth.” She took the NFL to task for glorifying the violence of the pro game and urged the league to channel some of its riches into research that might eventually help quadriplegics like her son.
Kram got to know Buddy Miley in 1993. Four years later, Miley convinced his younger brother, Jimmy, to help him get to Michigan, where Dr. Jack Kevorkian would help Buddy die. Like Any Normal Day is the story of Buddy Miley’s life, his death, and the lives of the people who loved him. Games figure in the book because Buddy and Jimmy Miley were athletes, and because what happened to Buddy happened on a football field, but Kram presents with compassion and grace such complexities as the dynamics of a family in crisis, the balance of hope with skepticism, and the question of whether, if, and when a person should have the opportunity to end his or her life.