Location: South Lake Tahoe, California
Occupation: Wrestling Coach, Business Owner and Student
I’d like to start my bio by stating the conclusion first, being invited into the ABR family erased my fears of a painful future and instantly unlocked a lifetimes worth of enthusiasm.
Cancer took my right but it did not take my zest for life and my passion for sports. I wrestled in college with one leg and immediately took up a career coaching wrestling. I also earned my Coast Guard Captain’s License becoming a Fishing Charter captain. For more than a decade this high paced and enjoyable life served my mind well but my prosthetic equipment and my body was suffering.
In 2013 I irreparably broke my prosthetic and severely injured my human foot in an accident. This instant immobility tore me away from everything that I loved and life looked bleak. Then my community, past wrestlers and family members organized a fundraiser to purchase me a new prosthetic. This experience and the new prosthetic generated a tremendous amount of ambition and motivation to repay this kindness. Again my equipment and body began to suffer during the process of working exhaustively to get back into shape and back into society my prosthetic began to cause excruciatingly painful sores.
I applied for a leg from ABR because acceptance meant hope of an active life without painful repercussions. Additionally, during my injury I felt I had let the wrestling team down, I was seeking a way to avoid failing future athletes under my care.
ABR delivered on that hope, it is a year and one week since I returned from Nashville and there has been only one day that I did not wear my leg. For reference in the past I would keep it off at least one day a week. Annually at the conclusion of the wrestling season was followed by a necessary 7-10 day “no-leg” vacation. The day after the 2017 State Tournament (the most successful in our program’s history) was decidedly different than any other had been, there was gas left in tank and tread left on the tires. I was in the Gym on Monday morning and on the wrestling mat Monday evening. Just that alone is reason enough to thank ABR profusely.
The physical benefits are incredible but the mental benefits cannot be overstated. This ranges from the simple happiness that comes from being able to say yes to things that would have definitely been turned down in the past to the idea that pain and fatigue will not prohibit opportunities yet to come.
With the aid of my running blade and the conditioning I gained from meeting ABR’s requirements I was able to earn silver in powerlifting and gold shot-put at the USO Endeavor games in 2016. With the ABR logo on my chest I work daily to represent the United States in both disciplines at the 2020 Paralympics in Japan. This goal is an example of the true gift that ABR gives, a fearless optimism of what the future as an amputee can and will look like.