2023 Keynote Speaker
We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker for the 2023 Pain & Addiction Summit -
On a Saturday in September, with less then two minutes remaining in Penn State’s football game against rival Ohio State, Adam Taliaferro made a routine helmet-to-helmet tackle that would change the course of his life. The Voorhees, N.J. native had broken his neck which left him paralyzed unable to move any part of his body.
A little more than 11 months after his horrific injury in which he was told he only had a 3% chance of walking again, Taliaferro completed one of the major goals he had established soon after the injury. On September 1, 2001, he walked, then skipped and jogged onto the Beaver Stadium turf in front of a jubilant record crowd of more than 109,000, leading the Nittany Lions onto the field against the Miami Hurricanes.
Though playing football was removed from Adam's future, his inspirational tale of recovery has been followed throughout the nation, leading authors Scott Brown and Sam Carchidi to chronicle his remarkable story in their 2001 book, Miracle in the Making.
Taliaferro began taking a full academic course load again at Penn State in the 2001 Fall semester while continuing his rehabilitation. He remained a part of the Penn State football team as a student-assistant coach and received the Maxwell Football Club's Spirit Award, given to a college football player who displays courage and heart in overcoming adversity. Adam also was the recipient of the Bob Mitinger Award, presented to a Penn State senior who personifies courage, character and social responsibility. Adam was also chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
In May 2005 Adam walked across the stage and was awarded his Penn State degree in labor and industrial relations. In May 2008, Taliaferro earned his law degree from the Rutgers School of Law-Camden. He currently works at Bristol Myers Squibb leading Strategic Alliances for the U.S. Policy & Government Affairs team. Adam also served as a legislator in the New Jersey General Assembly from January 2015 to January 2022.
Adam and his family created the Adam Taliaferro Foundation, which provides emotional, financial, and educational assistance to individuals who suffer catastrophic head or spinal cord injuries. The Foundation has raised over $1,000,000 to assist individuals and their families who have suffered devastating injuries similar to Adam’s.
The Philadelphia Sportswriters Association recognized the efforts of Adam and his foundation in 2009, as he was presented the Humanitarian of the Year Award for his philanthropic efforts.
Through his foundation, Adam continues to provide hope for so many people who feel that there is no reason to hope at all. Adam says it best in saying, “I’ve been blessed in more ways than one…and it’s now my mission to share my blessings with anyone who’ll listen!”
Click below for the presentation slides.