[gkit id=19]

Photographer: Studio Finch

I was 17, a good student, an accomplished gymnast and preparing for college when I was in a car accident resulting in a C5/6 SCI. I spent two months on a ventilator. In rehab I was speaking and eating food, but needed to learn how to use a wheelchair, get dressed in bed, build my strength, transfer in and out of my wheelchair, and complete daily activities with the limited function in my hands.

Eventually I started playing wheelchair sports for the social aspects. I enjoyed it but they were all missing something until I tried wheelchair rugby. I was bitten by the rugby bug and it turned into a passion. I have played rugby for 16 years and have been team captain, coach, and manager. I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the USA Wheelchair Rugby Team competing internationally.

The brightest part of my 17-year SCI life is my family and career. I have a master’s degree in Social Work. For ten years I worked as a catastrophic injury care manager and have recently become a care manager for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where I did my own rehab. I married my college sweetheart and seven years later we brought home our daughter, Brin. I see my injury as a part of my life and not what defines it. I am happy, active and would not ask for anything different.