Englewood, Colo. – (July 18, 2017) – A group of sportsmen and women living with various levels of spinal cord and traumatic brain injury recently 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. The 2017 Adaptive Fishing trip took place from June 14 to 18, at the Silver Bow Lodge in Divide, Montana.
The organizations 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.
This is the 2nd annual trip hosted by the three nonprofit organizations.
“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.”
Five of the people who joined this trip are graduates of Craig Hospital’s rehabilitation programs. Craig, which specializes in rehabilitation for people who have sustained spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, strongly emphasizes a return to recreational and leisure activity as an integral part of recovery.
“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.
Video of the trip, created in collaboration with GoPro, can be seen at https://vimeo.com/225758467.
About the 2017 Adaptive Fishing Trip
The 2017 Adaptive Fishing trip was made possible by numerous sponsors, including: Big Agnes, bigtruck brand, Darn Tough Vermont Socks, GoPro, Grundéns, Hiball Energy, Kind Design, Lone Mountain Printing, Phunkshun Wear, Rumpl, Smith, Tahoe Trail Bar, Vapur, YETI, and zealios.
About Access Unlimited
Founded in 2014 by Jess Alberi and Steve Miller, Access Unlimited strives to empower people to feel less restricted by their disability so they can enjoy new adventures. The organization has combined forces with some of the most seasoned guides of Southwest Montana to create custom fishing trips. accessunltd.org
About Craig Hospital
Craig Hospital is a world-renowned, 93-bed, private, not-for-profit rehabilitation hospital and research center that specializes in the care of people who have sustained a spinal cord and/or a brain injury. Craig provides a comprehensive system of inpatient and outpatient medical care, rehabilitation, neurosurgical rehabilitative care, and long-term follow-up services. Half of Craig's patients come from outside of Colorado. Craig has been ranked as a top 10 rehabilitation center by U.S. News and World Report for 27 consecutive years. Craig has received the NDNQI® award in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 for the highest quality outcomes in nursing care in a rehabilitation facility. Craig was voted by employees as a "Top Work Place" by the Denver Post for the past three years, and was ranked in the top 150 places to work in healthcare by Becker's Healthcare in 2014. craighospital.org
About the High Fives Foundation
The High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based, national 501.c.3 non-profit organization. The High Fives Foundation supports the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who suffer life-altering injuries. Formed as a way to "pay-it-forward" by the founder from his own recovery to help injured athletes, the Foundation has helped 159 athletes to date since its inception in 2009. For more information visit www.highfivesfoundation.org/.