High Five #HighFivesAthlete Mike Schwarz for achieving all five of his Arcade Belt Goals!

Setting the HUGE goal of walking around his house unassisted, Mike Schwarz worked incredibly hard to achieve this accomplishment. We are happy to report, that this August, Mike took his first unassisted steps, and we couldn’t be more proud of him! Rock on Mike!

  1. GOAL 1 – Independantly walk/stop the horse with the use of the reins (COMPLETED on 9/8/2015)

  2. GOAL 2 – Maintain balance while riding the horse, without holding reins. (COMPLETED on 9/15/2015)

  3. GOAL 3 –8 stations, ride the stationary bike 3 miles and walk on the tread mill 5 minutes (COMPLETED on 12/1/2015)

  4. GOAL 4 – Ski/Snowboard w/ Vermont Adaptive (COMPLETED on 3/1/2016)

  5. GOAL 5 – Take unassisted steps around house free of any adaptive devices

    (COMPLETED on 8/15/2016)


In March 2009, while attending his Senior year at University of Vermont, Michael suffered a traumatic brain injury while competing in a quarter pipe championship. Michael was in a coma for many weeks, and spent the next year in a rehab hospital recovering in the gym, the pool and the recumbent bike. Michael has gained back most of his living skills and is enjoying growing his custom sock business El SchwarEZ Designs. The Winter Empowerment Fund has purchased him Bioness L300 Foot Drop Systems and paid for Accupuncture sessions and  to help him with his walking. Recently, the Winter Empowerment Fund purchase a Hippocampe All Terrain Wheelchair for Michael to have even more freedom.


These goals are achieved as a part of the Arcade Goal Belt Program which was established as an initiative that guides athletes through the complex recovery process after a life-altering injury.

The belt program, which is similar to a karate belt system, rewards High Fives athletes with an Arcade belt containing a new gold star for each milestone achieved. This framework is designed to provide clarity, support, competition and inspiration for others as these athletes work to rebuild their lives.



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