A retired U.S. Marine sergeant and double amputee has embarked on a 52-day hand cycle trek to raise awareness for the Semper Fi Fund, a non-profit that benefits injured veterans and their families. Hand cycles are modified bicycles that allow individuals with disabilities to enjoy the activity of cycling.
The journey, called “Ride Across America,” will attempt to raise $200,000 for the Semper Fi Fund and show support for adaptive athletes.
The dedicated cyclist and veteran was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) in 2011 while on his third deployment in Afghanistan. Because of the blast, he lost both legs, 30 percent of his brain, and spent two months in a coma. After waking up and going through a period of despair, the veteran eventually took up surfing and cross fit before taking up hand cycling.
The 3,800-mile trip will take the veteran through 16 states, where he will conclude his journey in Arlington, Virginia, the location of the Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery is the resting place for veterans involved in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Law enforcement and a support vehicle driven by a fellow adaptive sports enthusiast will help keep the cyclist as safe as possible during his journey.
What Are Adaptive Sports?
Hand cycles and other adaptive sports have been used to rehabilitate veterans and individuals with catastrophic injuries. Adaptive sports can allow individuals with paralysis to take up skiing or cycling by modifying athletic equipment to adapt to specific injuries. For example, the hand cycle is three-wheeled and propelled by arms rather than legs.
At the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, adaptive sports are widely used to help wounded veterans build confidence throughout the duration of their rehabilitation. Adaptive sports can serve as a safeguard against slipping into negativity and other poor behaviors such as alcohol abuse.
Dudek Law Firm – San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney