Pacific Northwest Skier Brandon Pitzer to receive grant from High Fives Foundation

High Fives Foundation to provide Pitzer with $2,142 to aid in his recovery from fractures of the T11 and T12 vertebrae

The High Fives Foundation – Winter Empowerment program service disburses board-approved grants to winter action sports who are recovering from a life-altering injury. In July, the Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved a grant for Winter Empowerment Athlete Brandon Pitzer totaling $2,142.

The August 2014 grant for $2,142 awarded to Pitzer will be used for 12 sessions of physical therapy, 12 sessions of Acupuncture at Gateway Sports Medicine, and 18 sessions of personal training at Whole Body Fitness in Portland, Ore. This is the forth board-approved grant that Pitzer has received since becoming a High Fives Athlete in December 2013.

About Brandon Pitzer

On May 3, 2013, while skiing at Mt. Hood, Pitzer under-rotated a double backflip, instantly halting his lifelong dream of becoming a professional freeskier. The horrific crash left Pitzer in a local area hospital with fractures of the T11 and T12 vertebrae. Having full motor function and feeling below the level of his trauma, he went into surgery the next day for a spinal fusion. When he awoke from his surgery, he discovered something that no one ever wants to experience – he was paralyzed from the waist down.

Photo Courtesy | Brandon Pitzer
Photo Courtesy | Brandon Pitzer

Following the unsuccessful surgery, Pitzer took the positive road and decided to pour everything he had into his recovery. The young skier immediately went to work in rehab, and while he was making amazing strides, he felt like there was always more that he could do to keep progressing in his recovery. He reached out to the High Fives Foundation in November 2013 for advice and to apply for funding to be used toward Acupuncture, personal training and physical therapy in Portland. In December of that year, Pitzer received a board-approved grant for $2,142 toward those new healing services.

Since receiving his first board-approved grant in December 2013, Pitzer has received the same grant ($2,142) to be used toward Acupuncture, personal training and physical therapy in the months of February, May and July of 2014 totaling $8,568. Pitzer’s inspiring work ethic coupled with the services provided to him from the High Fives Foundation have really paid off as he is now back on his feet, and in March he was even able to return to the same slope at Mt. Hood where he suffered his spinal-cord injury.

Brandon Pitzer | Photo Courtesy | Brandon Pitzer
Brandon Pitzer | Photo Courtesy | Brandon Pitzer

Since the organization’s January 2009 inception, the Winter Empowerment program service has assisted 61 athletes from 18 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 2014, the High Fives Foundation has set a budget of disbursing $196,000 via board-approved grants through the Winter Empowerment Fund. Thus far in 2014, 16 High Fives Athletes and two organizations have been awarded a sum of 20 board-approved grants for a total of $168,000.

In the month of July the High Fives Foundation disbursed funds to five Winter Empowerment Athletes: Brandon Pitzer of Portland, Ore., Steven Jacobo of Gardnerville, Nev. along with Cody Walker, Ben Hulin and Terry Hopkinson of the Salt Lake City, Utah-area. The Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved a total of $15,061 to be used toward the High Fives Healing Network and Adaptive Equipment funding categories.

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