Dale Eidson was an offensive guard and linebacker at Mt. Diablo High School in the mid-1960s. He made his mark as a place kicker at Diablo Valley College and San Francisco State University. He was a few days from trying out for the NFL's San Diego Chargers when a Fourth of July fireworks explosion blew off both his lower legs and part of his right hand.

His bags were packed and his ticket was in hand. Dale Eidson, his dream trip still a week away, was leaving nothing to chance.
For good reason. A football place-kicker, Eidson drew enough attention during one season at Diablo Valley College and two years at San Francisco State — where he booted a conference-record 48-yard field goal — to pique the interest of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers. They signed him to a contract and invited him to their training camp, to begin on July 10, 1971. Eidson, who grew up in Concord, anticipated the thrill of his 23-year-old life.
But first, some summer fun. The night of Fourth of July, Eidson lit fireworks at his family’s home on Edward Avenue for the amusement of his nephew, 4, and niece, 2. He used firecrackers to launch beverage cans into the air. Looking for something more dramatic, Eidson went into the garage and …