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ETSU president speaks to the media

Published On: Jan 16 2014 05:55:04 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 07:56:34 PM CST

Thursday was the first day of the spring semester and Dr. Brian Noland addressed the media concerning the school's future, the crash that left him with a broken neck and his recovery.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

Thursday he was back on campus and Friday is Dr. Brian Noland's second anniversary as president of ETSU.

Noland was injured in a car crash back in November.

He spoke to the media about the school's future, the crash that left him with a serious neck injury and his recovery. "It's weird not wearing a tie," said Noland. "I haven't worn sweaters this much since I was in high school."

Dr. Noland managed some humor as he addressed reporters Thursday afternoon. "I have a broken transverse process on my C7 vertebrae," explained Noland. "I have numbness in my left hand, loss of strength in my tricep, and just the aches and pains of running into a telephone pole at a high rate of speed. But the primary injury is, in layman's terms, I have a broken neck."

The week before Thanksgiving, another driver ran a red light and T-boned Noland's SUV. The driver of the truck that hit Dr. Noland was cited for running a red light.

Dr. Noland has a message for everyone who gets behind the wheel. "I do think people need to stop texting, and start paying attention to the things going on around them," he said.

Now Dr. Noland says he is ready to move forward. His plans for the school include a laundry list of improvements and changes.

One of the biggest things he wants to focus on is the school's relationship with the community. The mini-dome will be part of that partnership -- Noland's goal is to turn it into a multi-purpose facility. "If we [install Astroturf in] this facility, which we will do, then on Friday and Saturday nights, why can't we play little league soccer and youth sports within in the facility?" he wondered.

Noland says he is grateful for all the support he's received during his tenure so far. Since the accident, he's asking for continued backing as the school gets ready to "kick off" some big things.