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The above video highlights the one year redemption of a High Fives Foundation Empowerment Fund athlete. As a 16 year-old, Tahoe Vista, CA native Jake Hickman was well on his way to realizing his dream of qualifying for the U.S. Freestyle Development Group in the sport of mogul skiing. On December 22, 2011 the talented skier crashed while competing at a U.S. Freestyle Ski Team – Selection Competition in Steamboat Springs, CO. The reigning J2 National Champion caught the edge of his ski before one of the jumps in the course. The crash resulted in a spiral compression fracture of Jake’s T8 vertebrae with an incomplete paralysis of the spinal cord. At first uncertain of his ability to even walk again, Jake powered through a strenuous regimen of physical therapy to return to the sport he loves. One year later he returned to the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team – Selection Competition at Copper Mountain, CO and placed 24th with a score of 74.23. This in itself is a testament to the hard work that Jake has put in.

“It is interesting to think back on the last year of my life. Through this injury, I have learned a great deal about myself, have become a better person and realized the value of positivity in all aspects of life. The High Fives Foundation has helped me with my recovery by being an amazing positive support group, financially and personally. My complete recovery wouldn’t have been possible without them and their generosity, friendship and support.” – Jake Hickman

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