Endurance. Anyone who experiences disability knows what it means to face challenges head on. Physical therapist and avid musician Kevin Bailey never imagined the word would hit so close to home, but a dramatic accident changed his life.
After falling 25 feet from a roof, Kevin was rushed to the hospital.
“I remember EMS putting me on the spine board, having my clothes cut off in the emergency room and going into a scanner,” he recalls.
After extensive tests, doctors informed him that he had suffered a spinal cord injury and would need six hours of spinal surgery to have Harrington rods placed in his back.
The injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. He spent the next months in rehab tirelessly learning how to live life without the use of his lower body. That’s when Kevin was “recruited” to play wheelchair basketball.
“As soon as I got to rehab, the recreational therapist asked me if I wanted to join the wheelchair basketball team. I said ‘sure’ and I was in,” said Kevin.
But first, Kevin needed to learn everything from sitting up in bed to navigating a curb with a wheelchair. With the help of passionate medical professionals and his supportive family, Kevin was determined to regain independence and worked hard day in and day out.
Though he didn’t regain the use of his legs, Kevin didn’t give up. His endurance motivated him to start a wheelchair basketball them, The Triangle Thunder. It allows him to participate in a sport he is passionate about and be with others who have physical disabilities. He also decided to pursue his passion for religion and earned a master’s degree in theology. Kevin didn’t stop there, though, as he went on to join the Cardinal Gibbons High School faculty as a Catholic Church history and Christian morality teacher.
Kevin’s experience and positive attitude are truly inspirational.
“Any life-changing injury or event brings out who you are – the good and the bad,” said Kevin. “It gives you the opportunity to grow or to regress.”
Staying active and surrounded by community is crucial for anyone who has a disability. Van Products is proud to support the disabled community wants to do whatever they can to facilitate support groups and athletic teams so that everyone has opportunities to thrive like Kevin.