Media Coverage

An Extraordinary Life

By Josh Delaney, August 6, 2011

Brian Pettey stood near the football field at San Bernardino Valley College on Thursday and recalled how he met his best friend, Dave Linane.

It was in the seventh grade at Arrowview Junior High School before it became a middle school.

The boys were staring each other down in gym class.

“We ended up fighting after school,” Pettey said. “He and I sat there, and we wouldn’t let go.”

Calling it a draw, they shook hands and became best friends.

But Pettey would never really let go.

All-American son

Linane was born to Thomas Frederick Linane and Alexandra Linane on March 13, 1955.

Like a lot of American boys growing up in the 1960s, Linane listened to rock ‘n’ roll and loved sports. He enjoyed playing baseball and was a big fan of bands like The Who.

He attended San Bernardino High School, where he wrestled, participated in track and spent summers as a lifeguard at the school swimming pool.

Linane also excelled on the football field. He started on the varsity squad each year and became a team captain.

Pettey played football with Linane in junior high school and high school.

“He was good-natured off the field,” said Pettey, 56. “He was very competitive on the field.”

So much so, that Linane made all-league and looked forward to playing football at Valley College in the fall of 1973.

Pettey joined him at the community college, where their friendship was changed forever.

A freak accident

Pettey, now a captain in the Fire Department, walked out of the library at Valley College in October 1973 and headed toward the parking lot.

But he soon noticed an ambulance parked on the football field and wondered if he knew the player who had been injured.

He was at home when the phone rang.

“A couple hours later I got a call from Dave’s brother, saying Dave is asking for you. They had just done surgery.”

Linane was in a hospital bed, paralyzed after breaking his neck on an aggressive tackle.

“It was just one of those freak accidents,” Pettey said.

The injury left Linane a quadriplegic.

Joined by Linane’s other close friends – Pettey’s 60-year-old brother Dave, who has retired from the Colton Fire Department, and mutual friend Jim Downs, a 60-year-old former Colton Joint Unified School District superintendent – Pettey spoke about how Linane’s parents worked tirelessly to help their son with his paralysis.

Pettey said Linane had limited movement from the chest up, no finger movement and could move his arms slightly from side to side. He wasn’t given a long life expectancy.

“Part of the reason for his longevity is the care of his family,” Downs said.

A ‘book full of stories’

Eventually, Linane’s friends gathered at his home.

“That’s where the beer would end up,” Pettey said. “We’d sit and listen to music and drink beers.”

The music would get louder and so would the parties.

Linane’s parents didn’t mind – their son was among loyal friends.

With the shock of the accident having worn off, Linane joined his buddies on the typical excursions of American youth.

They would frequently cruise E Street and bring Linane home after midnight.

Linane one time was in his wheelchair in the back of a van when his friends did a “fire drill” gag – where the occupants hop out of a vehicle at an intersection and return to different seats – and when the new driver hit the gas, Linane flew back so that his feet hit the ceiling.

When the driver slammed on the brakes, Linane flew forward in his wheelchair.

Linane was good-natured about the whole thing, even laughing about it, according to friends.

“We’ve got a book full of stories like that,” Brian Pettey said.

Linane went along with friends on trips to Las Vegas and nights out to dinner and the movies.

“People would pat me on the back and say, what would he do without you, but it’s kinda like what would I do without him?” Dave Pettey said.

Dawning of awareness

As Linane grew into adulthood, he lost contact with many friends who started families and got on with their lives.

In his mid-30s, Linane decided to go back to school, Brian Pettey said.

“He eventually said to me, 10 years from now I’m going to need something in my life,” he said. “He had that dawning of awareness – I better do something with my life.”

Over the course of several years, Linane would get himself to classes at Cal State San Bernardino, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in human development.

Two years later, he earned a master’s in rehabilitation counseling.

“I realized the only thing that was going to change for me was my attitude,” he was quoted as saying in a news article by The Sun. “It’s life. You deal with it. You make the most of it and you move on.”

He would end up working with disabled students at Valley College.

“He wasn’t going to sit put and let the state take care of him,” Brian Pettey said. “He was living life. He was a good friend.”

Known for being an excellent listener, Linane quietly fought his own physical problems while nurturing others through their bouts with disability.

Friends said he was an inspiration to everyone around him.

“He was a positive person in a terrible situation,” Downs said.

One big bash

More than 200 of Linane’s friends and relatives gathered on a Saturday night last month to share stories about the son, the brother, the friend who touched so many lives.

“He said when his time came, he just wanted a party,” Dave Pettey said. “He said just throw one big bash, so we had a party in his backyard.”

Linane died July 10 from complications related to his disability. He was 56.

His loved ones traded stories about Linane, including the time he crashed his wheelchair into a guardrail along Highway 18.

“He was fearless as far as getting in that chair,” Downs said.

Mostly they reminisced about the character of the man who was always available to listen to someone’s problems, while never complaining about his own.

“This community is missing a solid individual in this town,” Brian Pettey said.

Linane was preceded in death by his father, Thomas Frederick Linane.

He is survived by his mother, Alexandra Linane; sisters Linda Linane, Anne Linane Mann, Mardi Linane; brother Scott Linane and nieces, nephews and cousins

Disabled Students Learn to Find Careers

PLACEMENT: Cal State San Bernardino’s Workability program provides role models and advice.

By Kelli Cottrell

December 30, 2001

Kelli Cottrell

Dave Linane, paralyzed after breaking his neck during a football scrimmage, has used Cal State San Bernardino’s Workability program to earn a master’s degree.

San Bernardino – Twenty-eight years ago, Dave Linane of San Bernardino snapped his neck in a football scrimmage at San Bernardin Valley College during his freshman year.

Linane, who was paralyzed from the neck down, dropped out of school and spent the next few years helping his brother run a plumbing office in San Bernardino and volunteering for Easter Seals.  

“I spent 10 years having fun with no direction,” Linane said.

Then, with the help of a state-funded program called Workability IV at Cal State San Bernardino and many supportive people in my life, Linane got back on track. He earned a bachelor’s degree in human development and master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling last December.

The university’s workability program has been ranked first out of five programs of its kind in the state for the past three years in terms of job placements based on student population. A state grant for $170,180 and matching grants from Cal State San Bernardino have helped hundreds of disabled students find careers.

Through the Workability program, Linane found a clear direction and needed skills.

“It helped open my eyes so that I could narrow down the field I wanted to pursue,” said Linane, an educational counselor in the Disabled Students Department of San Bernardino Valley College.

“When I was first hurt, there were no role models or people to ask questions to about this or that. Workability provided skills needed to find a job and gave direction and confidence.”

Students in the program must be juniors enrolled at the college who already received services from the state Department of Rehabilitation.

“We meet with the students and assess what they need from us,” said Amanda Spivey, Workability’s career development coordinator. “We assist the students in everything from writing resumes to clerical support. The key is individualized assistance. Every step can be scary. We are there to support them.”

Linane often returns to the program to speak during workshops about how to handle oneself as a disabled person. He said he remembers how helpful those classes were to him.

“One of the classes offered showed me what software was available to make jobs more accessible,” said Linane, who uses a “quad joint” with his mouth instead of a mouse and Naturally Speaking software that types the words on the computer as he speaks. “I was really unaware of what software was out there.”

The program offers individual tutoring in specific software and assistance devices.

Linane hopes to further his career as a counselor and does not intend to change career paths.

“I really enjoy what I do and want to stay in this field with disabled students,” he said.

For more information about Workability IV, contact Spivey at (909) 880-7207

[Please remember this article was printed in 2001. The program, people and numbers may have changed.]

Dave Linane Award is giving S.B. city prep linemen due recognition

San Bernardino Sun-Telegram
December 4, 1979

Linemen, through the years, never seem to receive their just due. It’s always the backs and the receivers who hog the headlines, get the choice college scholarships, and draw the fat paychecks in the pros.

But coach Rick Oldfield and his committee are hoping to do something about it with the annual Dave Linane Award for lineman of the year among the five high schools in the City of San Bernardino.

Linane was a former football star at SBHS and SBVC, whose promising career ended with an injury so serious he is now a quadriplegic. Dave made all-league as a sophomore at SBHS, sat out his junior season with an injury, then was all-league lineman again as a senior. His crippling injury came during his freshman season at SBVC.

This is the second year of the award, and already it’s grown so much in stature there will be a dinner at The Plantation, Dec. 19, at which the nominees and their coaches are honored. The public is invited, and the $5.75 tickets are available from Oldfield at San G. during the day. Last year the award was made during a school assembly.

The nominations from Aquinas were Brian Henley and Andy Grimes; from Cajon, Jay Boyer and Mike Kalmus; from Pacific, Dan Dolan and Craig Fosdick; form San G., Lee Clay, and Shawn Kilpatrick; and from SBHS, Dale Caudle and Chuck Nobile.

Members of the selection committee are Gene Mazzei and Tom Verbanatz of SBVC, Nick Norton and Chuck Lewis (who coached Linane) at SBHS, John Bradshaw of Aquinas, Jack Wilkins of Cajon, Jerry Shepherd of San G. and one to be named from Pacific.

“The speakers at the dinner,” said Oldfield, “will be Harold Beach, who coached Linane at Valley, and Tim Burroughs, the former San G. head coach who coached against Linane.”

One of the Pacific nominees, Dolan, is the son of Dr. G. Keith Dolan who was principal at SBHS for several years. The largest nominee is the 250-pound Clay, who was an offensive tackle for San G. Not far back (at 235 pounds) is Henley, a two-way tackle for Aquinas and son of its coach Jack.

A Year Later: Linane’s spirit unbroken

Sun-Telegram Sports Writer
October, 21, 1974

SAN BERNARDINO – It has been almost a year since Dave Linane broke his neck playing football.

But in the critical game of recovery, nothing has been able to break his spirit.

“He’s getting stronger every day,” said Tom Linane, Dave’s father. “Dave is making excellent progress. It’s like watching a new baby.”

Linane was a freshman center for San Bernardino Valley College last fall. After the first seven games, the 6- foot-1, 193-pound Linane had made the starting team.

But during an afternoon practice on Tuesday, Nov. 4, Linane was hit hard and sustained the neck injury.

“I have a broken neck,” he said from the hospital. “Looks like I’ll be here awhile. But there’s no use feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to improve, that’s all.”

Linane is at home now; three days a week he works with a physical therapist. And ever day of the week he works with his parents and himself to keep the spirits high.

When Valley College hosts Citrus College in an important Mission Conference match at the Orange Show tomorrow night, the game will be dedicated to Linane.

A percentage of the gate receipts and money from a raffle will go to a Dave Linane fund. The game starts at 7:30 pm.

Linane, 19, will be listening to the game on the radio (KVCR, 91.9 FM).

“I think it’s marvelous what the school is doing,” said Tom Linane.

“There’s no way to measure our appreciation. It is unbelievable the way the kids have continues to come by to see Dave.

“That’s his motivation – his real outlook on life. They give him inspiration in a way parents or doctors can’t”

And according to Valley Coach Harold Beach, Dave gives it right back.

“If anybody ever needs to get up from being down,” said Beach, “just talk with Dave for a few minutes.”

Tom Linane said his son is not bitter about football. In fact, Dave keeps up with Valley College’s progress through conversations with teammates. And he watched pro and college games on television.

“His mother wonders how he can watch football after what happened,” said Tom, “but Dave told her, ‘I could have been in a car wreck or fallen down a flight of stairs and broke my beck.” His attitude is marvelous.”

You wouldn’t wish a broken neck on anybody. But it’s too bad Dave Linane’s spirit isn’t contagious.

Friends, family boost injured athlete’s spirit


Sun-Telegram Staff Writer

Sunday, December 9, 1973 E-1

The game of football is many things to many people. For some, it is their life. For most, it is simply like life.

It is winning and losing, hard work and rewards. It is unequaled joy, tears, disappointment, and sometimes tragedy.

Eighteen-year-old David Linane is a San Bernardino Valley College football player who now is fighting one of life’s toughest opponents – an incapacitating injury.

Early in November, Linane changed positions from center to defensive lineman, a spot he had played as an all-league player at San Bernardino High School.

During practice, Linane made a tackle and sustained a severe neck injury. He was immediately rushed to Community Hospital, where he underwent four and a half hours of surgery.

For the next two weeks, he remained in the intensive care unit, where he was fed intravenously.

He is not past the danger point and out of intensive care, but he is immobilized with the exception of one arm.

It is too early for the doctors to make a definite evaluation of his condition or predict how long he will have to remain in the hospital.

While waiting for the injury to heal itself, Linane is receiving physical therapy in the form of body movement and massage to prevent deterioration of tissue.

Meanwhile, exactly one month after the accident, things seem almost normal in the Linane household.

Dave’s mother, Sandra Linane, was taking care of her daughters, 12-year-old Ann and 7-year-old Margaret, were home from school with the flu.

At noon, Tom Linane returned home from work to have lunch with the girls and 15-year-old Scott, who had also come home to eat.

While rock music blared from 17-year-old Linda’s room upstairs, the rest of the family gathered in the living room to talk about Dave.

Margaret, still in her long, pink nightgown, curled up on her father’s lap and stroked the back of his head.

Through their closeness, all the members of the Linane family have found the optimism and the courage to accept Dave’s injury.

“Dave is a very special person. He’s never complained,” said Linane. “He’s extremely optimistic at this point. His sense of humor is beyond description.

“He’s a very peaceful person. He’s calm, and he has no bitterness.”

The Linanes do not place any blame for the mishap on football. Tom Linane played the sport many years ago at Redlands High School under Coach Buck Weaver, who is now one of the SBVC coaches. Dave’s brother Scott was a member of the 1973 SBHS sophomore team.

“Dave loved football all the time he played it,” said Linane. “I don’t feel as though he blames football or any person for the injury. Dave himself later verified his father’s statements.

“I’m O.K.,” he said. Despite a small tube in his throat, Dave was able to talk in a normal fashion.

“I have no quarrels with anybody. A lot of people have been good to me. and my friends have helped me.” Dave’s father said it is doubtful that Dave will play football again.

“I wouldn’t tell him what to do, but I hope he would decide not to play any more after he’s better,” said Tom. “He’s thought about it, and he feels it would be too risky. He doesn’t want to risk reinjury.”

The response by the friends of the family and by the general public has been overwhelming. The walls of Dave’s hospital room are covered with get-well cards, and flower arrangements are plentiful. He has so many visitors that a sign has been taped to his door requesting that they sign in at the nurse’s desk.

“We’ve gotten calls from all over the country from people who are concerned for Dave and love him,” said Linane. “We’ve gotten cards from people we don’t even know who have said masses for him.

“No one will understand the power of prayer; we’re extremely grateful to these people.”

The thoughtfulness shown by so many people has kept Dave from be- coming depressed.

“Dave has lots of fortitude,” said Mrs. Linane. “His spirits are good and he looks great.”

“We know Dave is going to be all right.”

The nurses at Community Hospital might be among the first to assure people that Dave has not by any means dropped into the depths of depression.

“One day, one of his friends was visiting him, and he asked Dave how he called for the nurse,” said Mrs. Linane. “Dave said, ‘I’ll show you,’ and he started yelling, ‘Hey nurse!’

“A nurse came right away and Dave said to her, ‘Just practicing.”

He jokes about it. The nurses have taken excellent care of him.”

Mrs. Linane told of another occasion when about 15 of Dave’s friends gathered in his room for a party.

“One day a whole bunch of the guys came over and brought a tape deck,” she said. “They played music, THEIR kind of music, and had a good time.

“Whenever his friends are there, we usually leave early. We know they have their own things to talk about and don’t want us around.”

In spite of the trying times, Dave, his family, and his friends pretty much go on with life as usual.

The parties have a way of going on, his sisters still get the flu, and the parents still give their oldest child a hard time now and then.

“We treat him just like anyone else,” said Tom. “I joke with him and call him names, and so does his mother.”

“One thing I am proud of is his personal conduct. There’s a quality about him that I can’t describe.”

“He’s a nut,” laughed little Margaret from her father’s lap.

Luckily, some things never change. 

Valley center severely injured during practice

November 7, 1973

SAN BERNARDINO – Dave Linane, a freshman center for the Valley College football team, was injured at practice yesterday and taken to Community Hospital here. A hospital spokesman said Linane suffered a severe neck injury. Any
further diagnosis of the injury was unavailable last night. Linane, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound graduate of San Bernardino High, has been a starter in three of Valley’s eight games this season.

Assistant coach John Thomas said Linane collided with running back Ron King during a scrimmage on the Valley practice field and sustained the neck injury. 

NOVEMBER 7, 1973
San Bernardino Valley College center, Dave Linane was injured in a football practice session Thursday in San Bernardino and remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Community Hospital there last night.

Linane sustained a broken neck while making a tackle during afternoon Indian scrimmage. He is an 18-year-old freshman at the school.

He graduated from San Bernardino High School last school year and had been a started in three of Valley’s eight games this season.

His father, Tom, is a former Redlands High School grid great during the early 1950s.