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June 01, 2015

Bobby Layman: Redefining Instructor

Bobby Layman was only 16 in 2003 when he suffered a massive closed head injury while doing a 360 skiing in Snowmass. He landed on his head and chest and his heart stopped beating. Doctors did not expect him to live, walk, or talk. Today, the 27 year-old has defied the odds and is teaching ski lessons to others with and without disabilities. He obtained his PSIA-AASI Level 1 alpine instructor certification in 2012 and his Level 1 adaptive instructor certification in 2013. He has become an inspiration in his hometown of Silt, CO and at Snowmass, as part of the Challenge Aspen Organization.

What are you up to these days?
I work part time at Mountain Valley Developmental Services on the Community Access Team. We help facilitate recreation for adults with disabilities. I am a substitute teacher in RE-2 school district in the special needs classes. I coach U-10 girls’ soccer. I am a Pals mentor for youth. I am a youth group leader in our church.

What goals are you working towards right now?
To play Paralympic soccer. To help people understand brain injury and other (dis)abilities.

How did it feel to receive your instructor certification?
Relieved that all my hard work, studies and practice on the snow paid off with my certifications.

What do you enjoy about instructing?
Seeing joy and progression in my students.

What would you say to other people and their families who are in rehab for a brain injury?
Don’t give up! With work you can continue to improve every day of your life. If you think you have plateaued just push yourself every day. Again, and again keep pushing the boundaries, don’t give up.

What would you like the world to know about people living with brain injuries?
That it is not easy. Every day brings challenges. We are ordinary people. We need things slowed down so we can comprehend and communicate properly. I wish the world was better educated about brain injury so they would understand us and have patience.

How do you redefine possible?
I define possible as anything that gets out there and makes us strive to obtain it. Nothing is impossible, we just have to go about it in a different way. You have to take the Dis out of Disability. That makes Ability.

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