How I Became Paralyzed
In a freak accident on March 29, 2017, I fell 40 feet; breaking the L1 vertebrae and the ulna and radius bones in my arm. Luckily, I don't remember the fall or much of what happened after. It all kind of felt like one of those surreal dreams where you wake up and think, 'Oh, thank God it wasn't real'. Except, I woke up and it was real. Laying there not being able to move my legs felt so strange! I was heartbroken at the thought that I would never be able to continue the sport I love: rock climbing. Climbing is who I am! It's my passion, my hobby, and my job as a rock climbing coach. The task of re-learning to walk hadn't even crossed my mind yet... I was so excited to return to climbing, regardless of how ugly it might be.
Climbing to the top
I was so scared that my 8 years of training had been in vain. I went to Nationals with no expectations, just wanting to experience everything that the opportunity had to offer, and I actually squeaked by and landed the 3rd US Team spot for my category. This opened up a huge door for me and I was able to travel internationally for the first time in my life! I represented my county on the World Championship stage just 5 months back into climbing. I fully believe that rock climbing was one, if not the biggest factor in my recovery. The intimate relationship I had with falling and failing from climbing had taught me that everything was going to be hard for sure, but achievable with enough effort.