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Joe Rhea | Motivation Speaker, Storyteller & Activist

At the age of 14, on September 11, 1984, Joe Rhea sustained a catastrophic life changing injury when he broke his neck on the football field and was paralyzed from the neck down. In a split second every thing he had dreamt of was gone. Two days later after a barrage of X-rays and CT Scans; The doctors said he would never walk again. To be prepared to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. End of story. . . right? Wrong. Joe's inspirational story began the moment he made a promise to himself that if he were to somehow get an opportunity to prove his doctors wrong, that he would do everything and anything within his power to accomplish that goal. 7 days later, that opportunity showed itself when his left leg moved. That's when the doctors and physical therapists gave him a choice: work harder than you can imagine and endure more pain than you can imagine, or spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. For Joe that choice was an easy one, because it was his only one. Work, and work harder than humanly possible. So Joe set that goal, and worked harder than most could fathom. As a result of that opportunity and his sheer will power, he is not in a wheelchair, he walks, runs, plays golf and and even snow skis, despite still having long term residual affects. When one goes through life altering experiences and hardships, if they are open to it, there are so many great lessons to be learned and to ultimately share. Joe Rhea is Not Your Average Joe. He has gone through many many different hardships, but choose to not allow them to win and rule his life. For the past 15 years he has spoken to hundreds of thousands of students and individuals about the lessons that he has learned. From saving lives with his College programs to enhancing and challenging lives with his Corporate programs. If you are wanting a speaker that will motivate, inspire, challenge and give you a sense of pride and purpose, then stop right here. KEYNOTE: Joe has created a presentation that has helped thousands of individuals around the country understand that too can overcome and succeed even when they think it's not possible. “Whatever It Takes! Overcoming everyday adversity.” • Whatever it Takes! Overcoming everyday adversity: Joe Rhea will share his life story on how he overcame the most catastrophic injury and event a human being can endure. His presentation will cover on how to deal with everyday adversity. Understanding that each and everyone of us have that “it” inside of us wen we need to call upon it. Joe Rhea is not special, all of us are special. Rhea will reveal to your staff and employees that they too on an everyday basis can overcome, and make it happen by doing whatever it takes. Everyday when we wake up we have a choice, to be average or to be great. Great is a mindset, an attitude that one decides to have. Rhea will share the lessons he has learned as a result of his overcoming tragedy and hardships. He is not going to reinvent the wheel, but he will challenge your staff/employees to be great. But in order to do that, what is great.


3426 N 57 th St
Kansas City, Kansas 66104
United States

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  • College Audiences
  • Corporate Audience


5 Reviews
Lenore J. Walsh
Joe's message is strong.

Greetings Life Skillers! Last night we brought Joe Rhea to New York Institute of Technology to speak about his presentation Bars, Cars and Catastrophes. I have never heard my gymnasium so silent before. I highly recommend Joe Rhea for your next alcohol awareness seminar. His presentation is like no other I have heard. My students were expecting to hear another lecturer telling them not to drink. Joe's presentation is more about making appropriate decisions and the consequences of drinking and driving. I had heard Joe speak at a CHAMPS/Life Skills conference a few years ago. When the student athletes knew that I had heard him speak they knew that my recommendation must be legit! My student athletes left with a new perspective – some told me they made sure they had their seatbelt on when they left that night. Others told me they made sure their cell phone was in their back seat of their car so that they would not text message during the ride home. Joe's message is strong and his videos send a clear message — very well worth it!

December 2018

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Scott Sharp Director of Minor League Operations Kansas City Royals
You are truly inspirational.

Dear Joe, I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to you to let you know what an impact you made speaking to the Kansas City Royals minor league spring training camp. Your story of perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds puts into perspective how fortunate our young minor league players are to live out their dream of being a professional athlete; a dream you shared as a child as well. Your message of never taking life for granted and that every choice you make could, and often does, have a profound impact on your life resonated with our players. Our camp was a buzz with your think first mentality from that point forward. We appreciate all that you do and hope you can continue sharing your story and message personal responsibility with the Royals for spring training to come. You are truly inspirational.

December 2018

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Cindy Tozer Director, Academic Services for Athletics Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
We will definitely welcome him back in the near future!

Mr. Rhea has now spoken to our athletes twice in the last 4 years and both times he was very well received. Some of our student-athletes approached him after his presentation to talk with him further. We will definitely welcome him back in the near future!

December 2018

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