In the hospital, he had to watch the Ravens on TV. His friends brought him tailgate food.

Now classified as an incomplete tetraplegic, with deformities in all four limbs, he still goes through physical therapy, including aqua therapy, and walks with the help of wireless electronic stimulation devices attached to his right leg and heel. A blinking remote control around his neck allows him to adjust the intensity of the signal.

Friends wheel him into the stadium in a wheelchair that sits by the front door of his house on Rolling Road.

The ambulance, when not in use, is parked in his back yard, next to the bus, with his wife's blessing.


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"How many wives allow two tailgate vehicles to become a permanent feature of a backyard landscape?" he asked.

His friends are supportive, too.

"I think it's incredible the way he's come back from this," said Cochunis, whose sons, Nate and Mike, still tailgate with Aldave.

Aldave can still drive the bus and ambulance with a portable left-handed pedal assembly, and his own car is specially equipped so he can drive it, too. But he can't do the heavy lifting he used to do.

One upside, he said grinning, is that he no longer is responsible for emptying the bathroom bucket.

But he's frustrated.

"I have to say, it's getting harder to gear up," he said, showing a walking cane with a Ravens head handle that a friend carved for him. "I like going to the games. I don't like how I have to get there. I always need someone's assistance. I don't like my diminished role."

But he gets excited when he looks at the bus, painted purple, black and gold, with the Ravens logo on the front, his friends' signatures on the ceiling and bobbleheads of Joe Flacco, Homer Simpson and a hula dancer in the windshield.

And he proudly shows off the ambulance, now called "a Tailgate Response Vehicle," dedicated to those who served on Medic 11 and those who died in 9/11.

Most of all, he's excited about the Ravens.

"I thought they were Super Bowl-worthy last year," he said. "Barring any injuries, we'll be right there."