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Courtney: Number 10, that was me. I got All-American. It’s definitely hard to get used to just because I have defined myself as a soccer player.
There’s like mornings where I wake up where I’m really disappointed about my injury. But then I’ll give myself like five minutes to breathe and have pity on myself. But then after that, “You got to do things today. Gotta get going.”Patti: She was taking her cut to go in to score.
Courtney: I beat one of the players and then she was behind me.
Patti: A defender on the other team came in from behind…
Courtney: And tried to slide tackle me.
Patti: Her feet flew out from underneath her…
Courtney: And I like flew in the air and I was parallel to the ground.
Patti: And I can still see her hitting the ground and bouncing.
Courtney: Just landed right on my back and that’s pretty much all I remember.
Patti: I keep waiting to wake up that this didn’t really happen.
She was growing up. I was letting go. And now boom, all of a sudden I want to be mom again.
You know, I worried about her before but now I really worry about her. It’s just the little things like getting into the car; she can’t feel if she’s sitting on the ledge so a few times she’s missed and ended up on the floor. I just want to surround her with protection so that she’s never hurt again. I ask her if she wants help and she says no.
Courtney: I get mad if they try to do things for me that I know I can do. I say I got it. I can do it.
Patti: She was born with an opinion.
Courtney: And there it is. Whew!
When I came back here, I learned about the hand controls and all the equipment that they use at Sharp for people with disabilities.
Patti: I need hand controls. I want to drive.Penny Anders: She’s got to get back to school you know, pack up her car, pack up her dog and get on the road back to Denver.
Can you feel your legs at all? OK. I’m going to put this chest belt on you.
Courtney: My first day I punched the gas too much, pushed the brake too hard, everybody’s head was going back and forth.
Penny: But I always want you to steer first, brake second, and signal last.
Mo: I’m the president and owner of Better Life Mobility. This is where we do a lot of our adaptations for anybody who requires some mobility equipment. As I push down it’s, it’s pushing down on the accelerator. As I push in, it’s pushing the brake lever.
I am a Sharp Rehab graduate. I was a football player, took a wrong hit. Going from a jock to a wheelchair user was difficult.
Penny: I have a brake and a gas over here. I’m gonna just have you steer around the parking lot.
Mo: I can’t tell you the smile on their faces the first time they grab that steering wheel and they turn on that engine.
Penny: Feel safe?
Mo: That is the moment when you feel like, OK, it’s my life again.
Penny: Anybody behind you?
Penny: Where’s your mom?
Courtney: Right over there.
Penny: Honk if you love her.
It’s been a hard seven months for them. And the longer you’re doing training the more you know about them and the more you hear about what’s going on in their life.
Release the brake. I’m going to go forward. You can still hold onto it. I trust you. And once we get out onto the street, I’ll let you have the accelerator and the brake.
With a new spinal cord injury, I’m very concerned that they know their physiological limitations. You don’t sit for five hours without doing a pressure relief. Give it a little gas. Good job, Courtney. You got the gas, the brake and the steering.
Courtney: I’m getting my independence back. It’s definitely making me feel like I’m completely normal and independent again.
Penny: Now usually we get a few oops and you haven’t made any mistakes today.
Courtney: It’s not much different.
Penny treats you like completely normal. She doesn’t see the chair. She sees you.
Penny: We did a high-five and I felt like I was part of her soccer team, you know.
Patti: The biggest thing that she struggles with is feeling that people only see the chair. She told me that I’ve kind of been like that, too. And, and so I’m working on it.
Courtney: We’re going to drive like the border of Utah and then make it to Denver tomorrow. Monday morning I’m back to school.
Patti: You got everything out of your room? She’s determined to do the things she wants to do and go to the places she wants to go.
Courtney: I’m moving into a house with four other girls on my team. I want to be like an assistant coach this coming year, going to all the games, all the practices. I still want to feel like I’m part of the team.