Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve

More powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. He came to earth as a baby from the planet Krypton. On earth, he had super-human strength and X-ray vision. He could even fly! His only weakness was Kryptonite, a substance which made him powerless.

He kept his real identity secret by posing as a mild-mannered reporter named Clark Kent. Then, whenever he set out to do good deeds, he slipped into a phone booth to change into his Superman costume with the distinctive “S” on his chest.

This Superman was the character created in 1938 by artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel. He was a hero of numerous comic books and the popular 1950’s television series called The Adventures of Superman. He starred in movies including the 2006 feature film called Superman Returns.

The actor most closely associated with this Man of Steel was Christopher Reeve. Born September 25, 1952 in New York City, Reeve had a screen and stage career. In 1978, he was chosen to be Superman in a feature film revival of “Superman,” followed by three sequels.

When Reeve was 42, he was seriously injured in a riding accident during the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association finals at the Commonwealth Park equestrian center in Culpepper. He was thrown from his horse and landed on his head, breaking his neck. According to the June 1, 1995 Washington Post article “Riding Accident Paralyzes Actor Christopher Reeve,” “He suffered fractures of the top two vertebrae, considered the most serious of cervical injuries, and also damaged his spinal cord.”

The Washington Post article described the accident, as follows:

“Reeve had been approaching the third of 18 jumps—a triple-bar about 3 ½ feet high—on the course when his horse, Eastern Express, apparently could not find the right spot to make the jump. The horse abruptly stopped, causing Reeve to “Roll up the horse’s neck and fall on his head on the other side of the jump” according to Monk Reynolds, the equestrian center’s owner.

Reynolds said an emergency medical team responded immediately and found Reeve unconscious and not breathing. “They gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and he regained consciousness in the ambulance,” he said. Reeve was transported to a Culpepper hospital and then flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. His wife, Dana, and their son, his parents and his ex-girlfriend Gae Exton (the mother of his two other children) have been at his bedside.”

After the accident, Reeve was confined to a wheelchair. He made public appearances and eventually resumed his career doing mostly voice work and some directing. He wrote about his recovery in a book, Still Me, published in 1999. He and his wife founded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving quality of life for people living with paralysis. He died October 10, 2004 at age 52.

If a member of your family has suffered a catastrophic injury and requires private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to

—By Karen Centowski

To see the video Superman to the rescue, just in time! – You Tube, go to

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