The Adam Lavender Story

The Adam Lavender Story

Written by High Fives supporter, intern, CRJ enthusiast and TBI survivor, Matt Masson.

Arcade X High Fives Foundation Goal Belt program is a 5-step program that keeps Athletes goal-oriented and focused on the respective task at hand. Similar to the karate belt system, each achievement will be rewarded with a belt containing gold stars that represent the number of conquered goals (1-5).

Adam Lavender ingeniously used the actual goal belts to complete a large personal goal to receive another belt!


Lavender of Carbondale, Colo. suffered a mountain bike crash while building and riding the mountain bike slope-style course at the Freestyle Mountain Biking World Tour Ranchstyle event in 2012.

“I crashed on a jump that was fairly routine for me, but I was tired because it was the end of the day,” said Lavender. “I went off the corner of the jump and landed outside the landing zone, causing me to land on my head.”

The vertical impact resulted in a C4 vertebrae burst fracture, leaving him an incomplete quadriplegic from the neck down.

“I realized I was paralyzed before I finished hitting the ground. I remember looking up through the juniper tree, up into the sky and the sound that it made when my neck broke, it sounded like someone rang the world’s largest gong inside my head.”

said Lavender

Following a lengthy extraction, Lavender was flown to a nearby medical center when he received news that no one wants to hear.

“the doctors were telling me there was no reason to assume that I would improve at all,” said Lavender. “From the thousands of patients they had seen, they said improvement was probably out of sight, and that obviously dampened my enthusiasm.”

Following his traumatic ICU/in-patient experience, Lavender did receive the positivity that he needed. At Craig Hospital, located in Denver, Colo.; a hospital dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries, Adam met patients that made him grateful for what he did have.

It was at Craig Hospital where Lavender first heard about the High Fives Foundation.

In September 2016, Lavender applied for a financial grant from High Fives to be used toward vibrating dumb bells for home use. Upon receiving the board-approved grant from the organization, Lavender filled out Arcade X High Fives Foundation Goal Belt goals as a part of the grant agreement process. Lavender set some lofty, but very attainable goals.

Arcade X High Fives Foundation Goal Belt program

Lavender’s first goal in the program revolved around gaining strength and recovery. The initial goal was to tolerate a full weekly schedule of strength training and push a manual wheelchair 500 feet, and with the help of strength gained from his new vibrating dumb bells, he swiftly achieved that goal in November 2016.

Excited about the strength he had gained, Lavender was ready to focus his goals around recreation; an area where he was accustomed to goal setting in the past. Coming into winter in Colorado, his next two goals were around skiing. His second goal was to ski a full day with assistance and Lavender accomplished that goal prior to his projected date of February 14, 2017. Lavender set a March 1, 2017 date to accomplish his third goal of skiing with no outriggers, and he had no problem shattering that goal either.

Lavender, knocking off goal after goal in the Arcade X High Fives Foundation Goal Belt program, set a difficult, but attainable fourth goal of riding a recently donated hand cycle independently. Acting in true Lavender fashion, he accomplished his goal by the intended March deadline, but it was the way in which he achieved it that is of particular significance.

“So I got this bike that was set-up for someone else. To ride a bike like this, it takes a bit of adaptation for someone like me, plus my shoulders were still very weak,” said Lavender. “When my upper-body finally was strong enough to get in the bike and try to move the cranks all the way around, I realized the seat didn’t fit appropriately. I needed a lap-belt.

Lavender and his family searched around the house for something to secure him to the bike, but weren’t having much luck, until the light bulb went off.

“Wait a minute! High Fives gave me those belts”

Lavender exclaimed

Lavender and his family eagerly fastened his torso to the backrest of his bike using the first three belts that he had earned by accomplishing his prior goals in the program. The support that he received from the belts helped him accomplish his fourth goal in the program, and Lavender suddenly had another activity that he could participate in with his family.

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The Arcade X High Fives Foundation Goal Belt program is an inspiring program that holds High Fives Athletes accountable and goal oriented. There are many inspiring goals accomplished in the program, but perhaps none as noteworthy as Lavenders goal of getting back in the saddle.


Matt Masson Featured below, with CR Johnson Healing Center Trainer, Jack Powell


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