Commentary: Life is an Education

Just a few years ago, I never gave a second thought about things like powered mobility, physical therapy, accessibility, adaptable sports, or reimbursement. I never had any reason to think about those things, which made me pretty much the same as most people.

That changed after Oct. 23, 2005, in Iraq, when my Humvee was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device, and I lost both of my legs and my left hand. I'm not going to repeat the whole story here. As the spokesperson for Quantum Rehab, I've told it plenty of times, so most everyone reading this knows who I am. (If you really want to learn more about me, you can visit my Web site at

The point I'd rather make is that most everyone reading this also knows all about issues like accessibility, adaptive technology, and government regulations. As providers, therapists and informed users, you've all been involved in these things for years. You've been working to get more accessible public areas for people who use wheelchairs and other scooters. You've been keeping up to date on the latest technology, learning how to operate, maintain, and repair everything from a basic manual wheelchair to the most unbelievably complex powered mobility rehab systems. You've also stayed on top of the politicians in Washington, D.C., who pass laws that have huge impacts on people's lives. You've educated them when they didn't know what they needed to know, and you've persuaded them when they needed a little nudge in the right direction.

Like I said, I didn't know anything about any of this three years ago, so I was surprised and happy to find out that a whole network of people already had a pretty good handle on things.

Now, if I can let you in on a little secret: I'm still very glad that there are providers, therapists, users, and others out there who understand all these issues. Because three years post-injury, I'm still working to learn everything I need to know.

I'll get there. I worked like a dog at my own rehab, and learned everything I could about my own adaptive equipment. That hard work paid off once, and it will again. In fact, when I look at how much I've learned just in the last year or so, I can say it's already paying off. But there are so many issues and those issues have so many layers, that it's not easy to absorb it all.

That's why I want to say "thank you" to all of the professionals, users and advocates for your dedication in staying educated and informed. You act as the eyes and ears for the rest of us in the classroom, the laboratory and on Capitol Hill. It's because of people like you that people like me can live our lives, stay busy with other things, and trust that someone is keeping track of the things that need to be kept track of.

I just want to let you know that you are noticed and appreciated. Thank you, and please keep up the good work.

Mobility Management Podcast