Monthly Archives: June 2012

SCI Superstar: Tim Strachan

“Go Stags!” is a chant Tim Strachan, 34, heard all the time as the starting quarterback for DeMatha Catholic High School (a premier boys high school in Maryland). And no wonder, at 6’3, 215 lbs, with a “spectacular arm,” Tim was a beast (and the ’beast’  Joe Paterno wanted as Penn State’s next quarterback).

Then everything changed right before his senior year. A day at Bethany Beach landed Tim with a broken C5 vertebrae. He underwent a massive 19 hour neck surgery and had to spend the next several months in rehab. That was over 18 years, and a lifetime ago.

Broken neck? Don’t take Tim down for the count. What he has been able to do since his injury, while sure it’s not the NFL record he had dreamed of, has been just as victorious.

Why he’s fearless

Right away Tim decided to use his injury as a catalyst to keep going full blast. After high school, he went on to graduate from the University of Maryland. And after receiving his undergraduate degree, he was accepted to Georgetown University Law School in 2001 and graduated from there a few years later.

After graduation, he entered the real world and got right into the swing of things right away (like a rock star). He landed a job with the FCC in their Office of Legislative Affairs and works as an attorney adviser, where it’s his job to be the liaison between the FCC and Capitol Hill (I bring donuts! Now please hear me out!)

But his law career isn’t everything that drives Tim. Remember that little football thing he loved?  Tim never put his passion for football on ‘ignore’ (which can be easy to do when you‘re trying to move on after an injury). He couldn’t play anymore, sure, but he could talk football, so Tim became an announcer for the University of Maryland’s football team (while he was in school there) and has been doing it for the last 15 years.

What’s next

In 2004, Tim married his wife Leslie Neale Strachan. Since getting hitched, they’ve had two young girls, Sophie and Olivia Hope (aw cute name!), which keep him busy. So when he’s not announcing football or practicing law, it’s all about being a dad for this multitasker.

I can’t imagine the craziness that must go on in Tim’s mind during football season – criticizing plays, analyzing coaches’ decisions, making sure his job as attorney adviser stays on the up and up, all the while being a dad to two little girls? (“Did I get their favorite cereal from the store?” “Did I order all of my meds?” “Wasn’t that guy supposed to be on the injured list?” “What brief was I supposed to analyze today?”)

Tim does so much, and he does it all so well. It’s awesome! He must have one heck of a espresso machine (ready to go with primo Blue Mountain coffee).

Watch the videos!

Tim Strachan talks about how the National Rehabilitation Hospital helped him after his injury

Tim Strachan’s acceptance speech for his induction into the Dematha High School Hall of Fame in 2010 (he’s funny!)

Wheelchair camping DOES exist!

Tofu burgers on the campfire; my very first and very weird camping memory (hey, I can’t help it if my best friend’s parents who took us camping growing up were old hippies that also went to Woodstock).

Camping is in my blood and the videos below prove that you can still camp even if you can’t walk. Sure…it requires extra planning – you need to find a campground that has accessible sites, accessible trails AND accessible bathrooms – but if you ask me? Wheelchair camping is totally still worth it.

Before heading out, you’ll need an accessible tent.  And yup, they really can be accessible (you just need to think about your specific needs). If you’re unable to transfer onto the ground from your chair independently, you’re going to want to get a tent you can roll into; literally. And yes this type of tent exists too.

Eureka’s Freedom tent is the one and only wheelchair accessible tent that’s been mass-produced.  Take one look at it and you’ll see why I love this thing. In the video showing how to set it up, a wheelchair-user is doing the actual setting up himself. Once it’s set-up, you can just roll right into the first a room of the tent (there’s enough head space and no lip at the door). Watch (it’s super cool). And if your wheels are dirty before going in, bring along some wet wipes so you can clean off your wheels.

The second room of the tent has a lower ceiling and is considered the “sleeping room” of tent.  A transfer onto the ground to get into your sleeping bag (or onto an elevated cot for your sleeping bag, which is a much easier) is required.  But awesome sauce – you can buy a cot for your sleeping bag at any camping supply store like this one.

Don’t forget you can also check out other tents just to see if they‘ll work too. If you can transfer yourself like a ninja, almost any tent will work. Check out this video from a paralyzed outdoor enthusiast from the UK whose part of the group, Rolling Back Home (a trio of paralyzed rally racers). In the video you’ll see him setting up a tent that he just purchased (it’s like Christmas morning!).

Sure, it’s a little bit of him showing off (and is sped up for effect), but dang are his all-around tent abilities impressive. He could probably drag himself through the wilderness if he had to (not that he’d want to of course)

Are you a fan of wheelchair camping? What tent works for your wheelchair? What other supplies do you absolutely need to bring along?

Watch the videos!

Roll right into the Freedom tent

Set-up the Freedom tent while in a wheelchair (and the transfer into second room)

Popping a regular tent from your wheelchair (funny “Benny Hill” inspired video)