yoocan - Zac Wolfe - A Disability Does Not Define A Person

A Disability Does Not Define A Person

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Zac Wolfe

Adapt Overcome Explore!

My name is Zac Wolfe and I am 28 years old. I was born and raised in Johnsonburg, PA. In 2015 I married my wife (Brittney) and moved to Saint Marys, PA. Growing up I always enjoyed the outdoors! I was the type of kid who just could not sit still. In the summertime, you could usually find me on my bicycle, running, riding my ATV & dirt bikes, and everything in between. During the winter months, I was part of the high school wrestling team and devoted a lot of time to the sport. I was and still am very active, a person who just enjoys being outside.

On July 3, 2011, when I was 19 my life was forever changed in the blink of an eye. I was in a tragic car accident which resulted in a C5-C6 spinal cord injury. I woke up face down in the middle of the road unable to move any of my limbs. Talk about being scared! While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, a million thoughts ran through my head. That was the longest few minutes of my life and nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I had been rushed to the hospital and life-flighted to the nearest trauma center. Shortly after that, I found out what type of injury and how serious it was. I had suffered from severe whiplash leaving me classified as a quadriplegic.  I was completely speechless, and it honestly came down to the constant thoughts of doubt, “What am I going to do with my life?”… “How will I continue to do the things I love?” A week later, I was in rehab and had a lot of time to think and even more work to get done. I am generally a very motivated and driven person and therefore had two choices: one was to sit around and feel sorry for myself and the other was to get out of my head and into “fighter” mode where I will do everything in my power to make the best of this situation. I have been raised a fighter and knew giving up was not an option. I was in an inpatient rehab facility for two months with others that had similar injuries.
I never missed a day of therapy while I was there because I knew how important therapy was at this point in my life. Finding the motivation to get out of bed was very rough on several occasions, but I knew I had to do it! After the two months, I spent in an inpatient facility I went to an outpatient facility at Penn Highlands Elk in Saint Marys, PA. The staff at Penn Highlands Elk rehab went above and beyond and pushed me each day to work towards my goal of gaining independence again. When it comes down to it, therapy is the most important step to recovery in my opinion with other variables in the mix as well. How did I have this drive and determination during one of the hardest times in my life? I give my thanks to Wrestling – this is what saved me. I wrestled throughout my grade school and high school years and this is what gave me the strength to overcome and push through the toughest parts of this situation. Did I struggle? Hell yeah! I struggled every day, but I put my mind to it and tried my best to succeed in any challenges life threw at me. It wasn’t always easy, it’s still not at times but I give it my all. Tasks that were once so simple take A LOT longer to do now, that was one of the hardest things for me to get used to. When it comes down to it, it is a mind game - do you believe in yourself? The answer should always be “yes”. One of my favorite quotes is “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward” - Rocky.

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