$5,000 Empowerment Grant will contribute to Aaron Baker’s documentary, “Coming To My Senses”
Empowerment Grant from High Fives Foundation helps professional Motocross athlete Aaron Baker share his recovery story
The High Fives Foundation is contributing $5,000 to a documentary project by former motocross athlete Aaron Baker. The documentary will be called “Coming To My Senses,” by Encompass Films. It documents Baker’s accident on a motocross bike and the subsequent 15-year struggle to regain movement. It explores both Baker’s journey and that of his family. The film is sewn together by Baker’s most challenging adventure post injury — a 20 mile walk across Death Valley.
In May 1999, Baker was practicing on a local motocross track in Simi Valley, Calif. in preparation for the AMA National Motocross Series. On the approach to the largest jump on the track, Baker’s bike malfunctioned, causing him to lose valuable speed at the most crucial part of the launch. As a result, Baker was flung over the front of the motorcycle while still airborne. He impacted the ground headfirst, breaking cervical vertebrae 4, 6, and completely shattering the 5th cervical vertebra.
Baker laid motionless but conscious on the race track. Friends and onlookers immediately rushed to his aid. Baker instructed them not to touch him but rather call for paramedics to get a Medi-flight helicopter. Upon arrival of the paramedic team, Baker told them not to remove his helmet, as he knew his neck had been broken. He was then flown to Los Robles Regional Hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a team of neurosurgeons fused the broken vertebrae with a titanium plate and five screws. The medical prognosis was that Baker would have a “one in a million” chance of ever regaining any type of function. After 15-years and endless rehabilitation, Baker is ready to share his story.
“He is one of the pioneers people to look up to in the adaptive sports world,” said Roy Tuscany, High Fives Foundation Executive Director. “He is an inspiration and has a positive message to spread to the adaptive community.”
According to the film’s producer, Dominic Gill, ” This film speaks to the value of a mind-body approach in overcoming difficult circumstances. Aaron makes no bones about his shift in beliefs post accident. His story is not purely physical but also one of values. Aaron’s values progress from those of a fast-lane wild-boy to one that’s focus is holistic in nature – less focused on ‘doing’ and more on ‘being’.”
Aaron Baker’s goal, as stated in his grant request to the High Fives Foundation is to learn his body through a vast array of information, modalities and techniques, as well as to express his new-found strength and confidence in a variety of outdoor adventure sports.
Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 85 athletes from 20 states in nine respective funding categories which include: living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and “stoke” (positive energy, outlook and attitude).
In 2015, the High Fives Foundation set a budget of disbursing $266,000 via board-approved grants through the Empowerment Fund. Since January 2015, 26 High Fives Athletes and two organizations have been awarded 40 board-approved grants totaling $211,393.
In the month of June the High Fives Foundation disbursed $30,194 in board-approved grants to nine athletes.
June Empowerment Athletes:
Jamie Crane-Mauzy from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Bond Camp from Breckenridge, Colo.
Megan Wemmer from Boulder, Colo.
Nick Fairall from Andover, N.H.
Kevin Cheung from San Francisco, Calif.
Mike Schwarz from Chester, VT.
Jim Harris from Salt Lake City, Utah
Aaron Baker from Northridge, Calif.
Josh Dueck from Vernon, British Columbia