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Re-engineering Sam — Glimpse Into The Future

Sam-600What started out as a team-building exercise to the Cleveland International film festival quickly became a possible look into the future of our industry, a reaffirmation of how life can change in an instant, and a renewed appreciation for how passion with a positive optimistic outlook can drive people to do the unimaginable.

The film “Re-engineering Sam” chronicles the journey of quadriplegic Sam Schmidt, an Indy race car driver who despite a crash in 2000 that rendered him a quadriplegic, never lost his hope or passion to drive. Throughout the movie you are drawn to Sam, his family, and their very honest portrayal of everyday vulnerabilities. Sam’s incredible drive to race and be a part of the racing industry has had an impact on everyone close to him. It would, inevitably, be the impact that Sam had on a fan, that would make his dreams of driving a car again come true.

During the film we are given an inside look at the doctors and scientists, who are just as driven and dedicated as Sam, to advancing adaptive technologies. Their ground-breaking technology that utilizes head movements and brain waves is paving the way for advances in the way people with spinal cord injuries operate and communicate. For Sam, the technology has allowed him to drive again.

May of 2016, Sam attained 152 mph in his adapted car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sam’s car uses four cameras to monitor his head and transmit his movements to the tires. He also uses voice commands to switch gears, head motions to steer and breath manipulation to accelerate and brake. In September, he was awarded the first restricted license in the nation to drive a semi-autonomous car by Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison. Driverless technology may be on the horizon, but for passionate drivers like Sam there’s nothing better than being behind the wheel.

Be There – David Trude

David-Trude-Sand-Surf2Almost 20 years ago Dave Trude was injured in an industrial accident that shattered his T11 vertebrae. He instantly lost the use of his legs, but did not lose his adventurous attitude. Dave had sailed competitively since he was a teenager, but knew continuing this may be difficult from a wheelchair. He quickly learned about the little known sport of Blokart racing, and since then has become one of the top competitors in the world!

The Blokart was designed and developed in 1999 by inventor Paul Beckett. With a background in hang gliding, he was inspired to build a wind powered vehicle that was fun, fast and compact. His vision was a great success as the Blokart can reach speeds of up to 60 mph and be broken down to fit in a carrying case in a matter of minutes. The sport gained immediate interest in Beckett’s home country of New Zealand, and since then has picked up a following in South Africa and the United States. Unlike land sailing, the Blokart is completely controlled by the users hands, which made this the perfect sport for Dave.

In 2016 Trude’s talents were on display at the North American Championships where he took home second place! Just a few weeks later Dave brought home the bronze medal at the Blokart World Championships held in his home state of California. Unfortunately, Dave was unable to compete in the 2017 North American tournament held earlier this month due to a family emergency. However, he is already looking forward to a shot at first place in 2018!

Life Rolls On: Inspiring Infinite Possibilities

In 1996 Jesse Billauer was one of the top 100 junior surfers in the world, and just weeks away from turning professional. Then in an instant, he was thrown from a wave head first into a shallow sandbar. The impact broke his 6th vertebrae. It has been Jesse’s mission ever since to help others living with paralysis to chase their dreams.

In 2002 he started the Life Rolls on Foundation to help improve the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury.  They host events all over North America teaching children adaptive surfing and skateboarding. After a summer of events from coast to coast, they will host their 13th annual “Night by the Ocean” fundraiser in Santa Monica, CA.

Jesse was one of the first owners of the BraunAbility Ford Explorer MXV. After hearing about his inspirational story, Ford shot the video above as apart of their “Go Further” series.

2017 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

wheel chair basketball for disabled persons (men)Every year when March rolls around, basketball takes the center stage. The NBA playoffs are right around the corner, and the NCAA tournament is in full swing. Later this month the best wheelchair basketball teams from all over America will meet in Louisville for their own tournament.

The 2017 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament presented by ABC Medical will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, March 30-April 2. In total, there will be 96 teams from six different adult and junior divisions competing.

The favorites to win the Adult Division 1 bracket this year are the “New York Rollin’ Knicks” who will face stiff competition from last year’s champion “Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks” who are seeded 2nd. Several other NBA affiliated teams will also be in competition including the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 History of the NWBA

After returning home from WWII, several paralyzed veterans started playing basketball from their wheelchairs in 1946. That same year, the first competitive game was played between these veterans and their doctors at the Birmingham VA hospital. By 1948, six teams representing their VA centers had formed across the county. Seeing a drastic rise in interest, Dr. Timothy Nugent of the University of Illinois formed the NWBA.

Today the NWBA has grown to include 200 teams across the country. It has also given support to hundreds of teams located across the world. To learn more about their upcoming tournament you can visit

Fighting Back: Boxing Class Combats Parkinson’s Disease

Rock Steady BlogRock Steady Boxing is empowering people all around the world with Parkinson’s to fight back! Their non-profit organization has over 300 gyms where people living with Parkinson’s can participate in non-contact boxing fitness classes. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative movement disorder which can cause deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech and sensory function. It is estimated that over a million people in the United States are living with the disease and another 60,000 are diagnosed annually. With over 16,000 active members using their program, Rock Steady is fighting back!

About Rock Steady

The first Rock Steady gym was founded in 2006 by Scott Newman, a Prosecutor from Indiana who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 40.  There were several studies done in the 1980’s and 90’s that showed rigorous exercise, balance and core strength can help improve range of motion and flexibility for anyone living with the disease. Scott Newman found this to be true and set off on a mission to grow Rock Steady to a National organization.

They recently celebrated their tenth anniversary as well as opening international locations and even publishing a book “I Am Rock Steady”, which focuses on how 11 different people’s lives have been changed by Rock Steady Boxing. Their website even includes a store with boxing/mobility related clothes and accessories. A few months ago, Rock Steady received a generous donation from the Sallie Mae Fund and plans to help support monthly educational seminars.

If you or someone you know are interested in joining their gym or finding more information visit