A concrete curb half a mile from home sent Daniel Langford and his motorcycle straight into the air. Langford hit the ground 100 feet away and his 2011 Harley Davidson Street Glide landed on top of him.
He wasn’t wearing a helmet.
It was the day before Thanksgiving 2015. Langford was out riding with two buddies, doing 60 or 65 miles per hour down a side street in Katy.
“I was in a curve, and I’d been down this road a million times,” Langford said. “More times than not I wore a helmet. But not this time. I ended up hitting a curb not even two feet wide, but I hit it dead center.”
His friends yanked the motorcycle off him and could see that he was bleeding badly, blood pooling by the side of his head.
“They saw me choking on my own blood and turned me on my side to allow the blood to drain out,” Langford said. “They called the cops and the ambulance. Then Life Flight came.”
Langford remembers next to nothing about the accident and the hours following.
“I have one glimpse of a memory of being on the stretcher,” said the husband and father of three. “Apparently, I repeated my wife’s phone number—I don’t remember this—as a nurse was trying to stick a tube down my throat. I told her to wait and she took down the number.”
Langford’s wife, Kari Langford, works as a nurse in the NICU at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. When the Memorial Hermann Life Flight helicopter carrying her husband landed on the roof, she was working just a few floors below.
“The nightmare began and I promised her I’d never get back on a motorcycle,” Langford said.
“I stepped away from the motorcycle club. I still dream about motorcycles every night, but family and kids come first. It’s horrible what I put them all through.”
Langford spent three-and-a-half weeks at Memorial Hermann. He had a broken neck and fractured vertebrae in eight places. His arm was badly burned from the Harley’s exhaust pipes. And the middle and right side of his face, which were crushed in the accident, had to be reconstructed.
In addition, Langford’s brain was bruised and swollen. There was talk of brain surgery, he said, but in the end it wasn’t necessary.
Still, doctors didn’t know what to expect.
“After two weeks, they made me stand up and try to walk,” Langford said. “My head was still swollen. I had to wear an eye patch over my eye. They said my sight might not come back in my right eye. I had to learn how to move, sit down, put my shoes on. I was having trouble making my body do what I wanted it to do. Balance was a big issue.”
Nearly two years after the accident, Langford, now 40, says he has a different outlook on life.
“My scars are a life lesson to remind me of the road I was going down,” he said, referencing a literal and a figurative road. “I’ll always have them and they will always be there to remind me not to be stupid again. I think that was God thumping me into the curb, saying, ‘Straighten up your act and pay a little more attention to your family.’”
Langford doesn’t try to hide the physical reminders of that day in 2015.
“I’ve got a shaved head,” Langford said. “I’ve got the scar for all the world to see. People look at me. They look at the head first and then they see the arm. It’s a Freddy Krueger-looking arm. It’s pretty cool.”