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The High Fives Foundation is proud to parter with Return to Dirt – The adaptive motorsports program that puts disabled individuals behind the wheel of their own adventure.

GET BEHIND THE WHEEL

Whether it’s just to twist throttle, or to see the sights, there is no wrong reason for physically impaired athletes to access their dreams off the beaten path.

Their MISSION

Provide equipment and instruction for individuals with disabilities to pilot off-road vehicles into backcountry areas otherwise impossible to access because of a mobility impairment.

Life after a spinal cord injury is full of questions and unknown answers. Often, in the days immediately following your injury you wonder if you will find enjoyment in life again. But then, as more time passes and you find more and more independence you also find new passions and interests.  

High Fives is there right from the beginning, providing support and answering questions for the injured person and their family. Then, by the time the Athlete is ready to leave the hospital, here at High Fives, we begin setting our sights on introducing that Athlete to the world of adaptive sport. 

Below, are the testimonies of 3 newly injured High Fives Athletes and their first-ever High Fives Adaptive Sports Camp. 

Photos by @jordan.alpinemedia & Videos by @generikal

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Bryan Noonan High Fives Athlete #249

 

Bryan was a very active person before he broke his back. While snowboarding on the backside of the mountain at  Northstar Resort, Bryan sent a wind-lip without knowing what was on the other side. The crash resulted in an L1 Spinal Cord Injury. Not only was Bryan a very good snowboarder, but he was also very into cars – going places and getting there fast. HE even has a rabbit tattoo on his arm to symbolize his love for the Volkswagen Rabbits that he has owned and loved in his life.

Bryan is often at the High Fives office.  He always comes in with a good attitude, saying hello to everyone and then goes and works out. hard. we are always impressed with his drive and work ethic. This is why we were so excited to spend a few days with Bryan away from life’s distractions, out in the bush, camping, and most importantly, driving fast offroad vehicles.

     “In the time since my injury I think I had drawn some imaginary boxes around myself and what I was capable of. I didn’t mean to. It just came along with the limitations you meet on a day to day basis, living life in a wheelchair. This camp took a big fat eraser to those boxes I had drawn. While I was at camp I didn’t have the world reminding me what I couldn’t do. All I saw were other High fives athletes and staff reminding me that I can do whatever  I wanted to and they were all there to help.
     I got to rip down dirt roads at speeds that somehow were not illegal, I got a chance to ride an E-assist recumbent bike for the first time, and biggest of all I got to try to drive a manual transmission for the first time since my injury.  I was driving stick again. This fell firmly outside of those boxes I had drawn around myself. I can honestly say I probably wouldn’t have even tried if it weren’t for the support and overall mentality that a camp like this provides.”
-Bryan Noonan High Fives Athlete #249
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Shelby Estocado High Fives Athlete #311

We were introduced to Shelby very soon after her injury and immediately knew she was going to be unstoppable. Right away she struck us as someone who was incredibly positive and determined. Before her injury, Shelby was an amazing baseball player, representing the National  USA team from 2016-2019.  in February of 2020, she broke her back in an unfortunate snowboard accident.

Shelby blew us away with her athletic prowess. And although she no longer represents the USA in Softball, we look forward to seeing her represent the USA in whatever Paralympic sport she chooses to pursue. 

“I was super stoked when I got invited to the camp, being only 5 months post-accident I was a little bit anxious to get out of my comfort zone and be out in the bush camping. Knowing that High Fives would be there to help me if I needed help made it much easier to feel comfortable though. As soon as I got there all my anxiety disappeared, quickly. Everyone there was incredibly positive and so happy to help or show me how to do something. I had a blast hanging with other individuals in chairs who didn’t let their chair define who they were.

Getting to drive powerful RZR’s was also amazing. The community, the machines, the good times all made this camp something I will never forget.”

-Shelby Estocado High Fives Athlete #311

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Ryan Bodine High Fives Athlete #305

Ryan is one of our youngest Athletes we have at the Foundation. After sustaining a spinal cord injury while Snowboarding in January of 2020, Ryan was told that he would likely never walk again. This young man took that as a challenge. He poured blood, sweat, and, tears into rehabilitation with the singular focus of becoming ambulatory again. well, we are incredibly proud to say that by the time he graduated High School just a few months post injury, he walked unassisted across the stage to accept his certificate.

 

“the RZR camp was a really fun time. It was cool that although i had just met everyone there, it was like camping with family. We got to explore mountains and lakes, race around on RZRs, and relax around a big fire pit.”

Ryan Bodine High Fives Athlete #305

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