I broke my neck in January 2004 a couple months after my 21st birthday. It was a short day trip up to a local mountain in Southern California… Mountain High. The mountain was very crowded that day because it was a Saturday morning so I decided to try a run that looks like it wasn’t busy. It had been set up from the week before Vans Triple Crown Big Air competition so there were three big jumps and a few other things but nobody was really on that run. I thought it would be much easier to just hit that run instead of waiting in a long lift line, on the way up the lift I pointed out the final jump to my buddy and said I think I’m going to try to hit that on the way down. He laughed and said “dude I wouldn’t hit that jump right now”.
I was having a pretty good run coming down the mountain until then I had hit a box and a rail so I figured what the heck let’s just hit this thing full speed. That turned out to be a pretty terrible idea. The jump wasn’t set up as I had thought, I got launched way up in the air loosing control I rotated all the way back with my head lower than my board. I tried to tuck my chin to my chest to see if I can roll my body back to land on my board but all it ended up doing was making me land directly on my neck with my chin to my chest and that instantly shattered my C5 vertebrae and damage from C4 to C7.
I knew something was wrong when I was laying on the ground but I couldn’t figure out what it was, I never lost consciousness. someone that was just riding by stopped to check me out and give me some help and then called Ski Patrol. they got there pretty shortly after that strap me to the board and rode me down to the Medicaid office and then that’s kind of where things got a little fuzzy. I think because they gave me morphine or something. From there I was airlifted to Loma Linda hospital which was the closest hospital that could deal with a spinal cord injury.
I spent three and a half weeks in ICU at Loma Linda Hospital. I ended up with pneumonia and had a couple other small complications. Once I was taken out of ICU and able to start rehab they had an ambulance transport me to Northridge Hospital, which has a great rehab center. Northridge was significantly closer to my house, friends and family. I spent about three months at Northridge Hospital doing Inpatient Rehab, then another few months once I went home going in a couple days a week for outpatient rehab.
Eventually after my outpatient rehab ended, I did nothing for about a year really just sitting around at home. I was in my chair all day, I couldn’t transfer, I couldn’t do anything for myself. After sometime I started going to the spinal cord injury support group once a week at Northridge Hospital. That helped to motivate me a little bit. I was getting some mentoring from a friend another C5 quad who had been living as an independent quad for years. He never had a power chair, or power assist wheels. I made another friend who had been injured for a few years and was really into the rugby life. He got me to come out to a rugby practice to meet some of the other guys, that was a BIG STEP into living an independent life.
I was very intimidated by how strong everyone looked and how fast they could push. I went home and started to work out regularly, I noticed I was getting stronger and feeling better about myself when I work out. I was hooked! After about 6 months I decided to go out and try playing rugby at a practice the local team was having. It was obvious that I needed to be even stronger but I was ready to start trying… Being part of the rugby team and a sports community was a big welcomed change in my life. Before rugby all my friends and family treated me like a baby and were too overprotective but the rugby community was not like that, if you weren’t trying hard enough or were complaining about how hard things are the rugby crew told you to quit your bitching and man up (regardless if you’re a man or woman lol).
From that point on I worked as hard as I could to become stronger and started to be able to do more and more for myself. I eventually became fully independent. The road has been long and hard to get to where I am now, but having freedom and Independence in life is vital for my happiness.
That’s why I started Live to Roll so I can bring my message to other people with disabilities and help motivate others to work towards Independence.
Live To Roll is here to Educate, Motivate and Empower. I'm dedicated to helping Quadriplegics and anyone with a disability to live happier and more independent lives. I'm a C5 C6 quadriplegic and I have worked very hard to get to where I am today. It’s Important for me to be a positive role model and mentor for others with disabilities as well as provide motivational content for people of any ability. I’ll be showing you some tools and techniques that I've learned over the last 16 years living as a C5 C6 quadriplegic. You’ll also see my recreational and sporting videos! I hope my videos and vlogs help with improving quadriplegics daily lives and general attitude towards life!