Craig Hospital Alum, High Fives Athletes, & the expert guides of Access Unlimited recently experienced the thrill of catching and releasing fish in the beautiful backdrop of Montana! A group of sportsmen and women living with various levels of spinal cord and traumatic brain injury participated in a five-day adaptive fly fishing camp hosted by three organizations that serve athletes with disabilities: Access Unlimited, High Fives Foundation and the Craig Hospital Adventure Program.
This collaboration provided access to local guides and adaptive fishing equipment, including boats and specialized fly fishing rods, as well as Action TrackChairs to help people get as close to the river as possible, and even stand to fish. Participants also had the opportunity to take a helicopter tour and learn shooting skills.
“People who come on this trip never leave the same – when they see what is possible despite their disability, there’s a sense of freedom on the river that you can’t take back,” said Jess Alberi, co-founder of Access Unlimited.
Roy Tuscany, founder of High Fives Foundation, said, “While the fishing is a big part of this event, the camaraderie among the athletes and the connection with the outdoors is irreplaceable. For a few days, these participants are not defined by their disability – there are no boundaries to what they can do when these groups come together.”
“Our hobbies and activities define who we are, and most of the athletes served by High Fives and Access Unlimited were active before their injury,” said Jake Manley, marketing and media services manager at Craig Hospital. “By making adaptations – some slight, some more substantial – we are helping these participants rediscover the things they’ve always loved.”
During the trip, Access Unlimited hosted a fundraising event, raising $27,000 to help provide equipment and experiences for people with physical disabilities and get them back to the outdoors.
The 2017 Adaptive Fishing trip would not have been possible without the support of these great brands:
High Fives Foundation, Access Unlimited, GoPro, Big Agnes, Yeti, Grundens, Smith, Kind Design, BigTruck Brand, Darn Tough Socks, Vapur, Zealios, Tahoe Trail Bar, Lone Mountain Printing, Hiball Energy, Rumpl, & Phunkshun Wear.