Navigating a ‘New Normal’

Dr. Jason Kolb poses next to his new accessible van with his small white dog on his lap.

For Dr. Jason Kolb, of Ohio, 2023 has been a year of adjustment. After a skiing accident in January left him paralyzed from the waist down, Jason and his family are now navigating their “new normal.” From home accessibility renovations to purchasing his first adaptive vehicle, Jason is determined to maintain his independence while balancing his newfound mobility needs.

The Kolbs and their support system tackled these new challenges head-on, starting with finding Jason an accessible vehicle that would accommodate his family, his ability to drive and his tall stature. His brother and a family friend, Jon, began their search on the MobilityWorks website for a vehicle that would meet the family’s criteria. They came across a 2020 Toyota Sienna that checked all their boxes.

“My wife really wanted the particular color we got, which was a silver-gray, and a sunroof. We picked the Sienna because I’m 6-foot 5 and I needed as much space as possible,” he said. The van of their choice was quickly brought up to Akron from our MobilityWorks location near Columbus so the family could see it in person.

Jason quickly learned to use hand controls and passed his driving test with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. You’ll find him on the road already, eager to get back to a sense of routine. His new vehicle allows him to be there for his family, and also for himself, as he plans to return to work in the medical field.

“We use the van for normal errands, like taking my daughter to volleyball, going to my physical therapy and doctor’s appointments, going to the gym and going to church.” He continued, “I do hope to return to work and hope to do it independently, so that will be another way that I’ll use it.”

When asked what advice he could share for those who are newly injured and find themselves adjusting to their own “new normal,” he stressed the importance of getting out of the house for those who are able, even if it’s just for a short ride.

“Driving is a great feeling for independence and normalcy. I would encourage people who drove before to get an adaptive vehicle because it’s great for those reasons,” he said.

You can follow along with Jason’s journey through his blog on Caring Bridge.

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