55: Wakeboard to Wheelchair

Brad Smeele was a professional wakeboarder at the top of the sport performing tricks that no one else could do. However, during one attempt at a trick, Brad crashed into a ramp and broke his neck. He instantly lost the ability to move his arms and legs. He learned to live life without the physical talent he once had, and instead embraces the deeper perspective he has gained. In this episode:

  • Falling in love with wakeboarding
  • Becoming a professional athlete and training year round
  • The first ever to land a specific trick and winning Trick of the Year
  • How another attempt at the trick led to permanent injury
  • Learning how to live life as a quadriplegic
  • Losing his identity in his physical talent and abilities, and gaining a greater perspective
  • The Movement Collaborative – Trying to speed up the research process by collaborating with other spinal injury organizations to find a cure
  • The Keep or Cut Challenge – Taking the challenge involves taking the risk of allowing your friends, family and followers to vote on whether you keep or cut your hair in order to raise money for spinal injury research.
  • “I wish everyone could learn what I’ve learned in my journey without having to go through what I’ve had to go through.”
  • Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Brad is the founder of The Movement Collaborative. You can find out more information about the organization here, http://themovementcollaborative.com/. And you can follow Brad on Instagram @bradsmeele