At gogglesoc, we believe it's cool to be kind. That's why we support and partner with organizations that care about our communities. We're glad to be able to support adaptive organizations to make skiing more accessible.
For more than 50 years, the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) has led the way in redefining adaptive outdoor experiences by re-inventing adaptive equipment, technology, and coaching methods. As one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of adaptive experiences, NSCD has provided tremendous opportunities, and possibilities for people living with disabilities.
Today, we wanted to talk about the incredible stories of how NSCD athleteswho, despite adversity, never gave up on their dreams #ReThinkAbility
After enlisting in the Army in 1998, Kyle was deployed to Iraq. On a routine patrol in 2004, his squad was ambushed, and in the ensuing fight, an IED blew up the truck he was in. Shrapnel tore out his right shoulder and severed the nerves of his right arm. Back then, Kyle was sent to the San Antonio VA, one of the few neurological centers. He spent about a year, off and on, going through rehab after undergoing Limb Salvage, where the nerves of his right leg were stripped and replaced into his right arm.
As part of his rehabilitation, Kyle went back to college and earned his MBA, then moved to Alaska to work as a government contractor for a gas company in the back of beyond. When he moved back to Colorado, he decided to attend the Winter Sports Clinic for the first time in 2015.
Today, he is an IPC-classified downhill skier. He trains full-time in Winter Park, CO, and races with the National Sports Center for the Disabled on a mono ski. When he isn’t training, Kyle volunteers as an adaptive kayak instructor for people with disabilities. Kyle just took a bronze medal in the 2020 Huntsman Cup in Park City and is often ranked among the top 10 adaptive alpine skiing athletes.
In 2014, Patrick nearly died riding his motorcycle. Running late for work, he was speeding, didn’t make the turn and hit a boulder hidden in the long grass. “I was thrown into a telephone pole,” Patrick said. “I woke up a month later and I didn’t have a leg. Patrick was in a medically induced coma for weeks. His pelvis was crushed, his ribs went through his lungs, his kidneys failed, and his collarbone was smashed. “My parents didn’t want me to lose my leg,” he said. “But after two weeks, there were infections. I was dying, so they cut the leg off”. And then Patrick said the damnedest thing: “No leg, but it saved me. I’ve got to be pumped up about that”.
After his accident, he got into Paralympic sports almost immediately. He played with the Connecticut Spokebenders wheelchair basketball team. He played sled hockey. Skiing? No, he was afraid of more injury. He had started skiing at age 2 but essentially stopped at 14 as he got into high school sports. A year after his accident, he could no longer resist and headed to Mount Snow. Today, Patrick pushes on with his dreams. He reached his goal of making the 2022 Paralympics and will now represent Team USA in Beijing. “The great speed, navigating slalom gates; it is both thrilling and entirely challenging. I think I get life now. How it works, I mean. The world keeps spinning no matter what. I get it. I live. That’s it. I live. And it’s so good.”
From Fraser, Colorado, Tom has been skiing at Winter Park for the past 30+ years. After his spinal cord injury while mountain biking in 2012, Tom didn’t want to abandon sports. He had always seen and heard about NSCD over his many years at the resort, and as soon as he was able, Tom joined up to relearn how to ski and compete. The NSCD gives him and others with disabilities much better access to skiing, and being on the Comp Center Team is vital for him to keep competing.
Tom was a dentist in Fort Collins before his accident but had to retire and has now moved to Fraser full-time to compete. He is currently a board member of both the Bicycle Cooperative of Fort Collins, a non-profit organization in Fort Collins, and the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District.