SCI Superstar: Gabe Rodreick


When you’re injured early on in life, some say it makes adjusting to a spinal cord injury easier. However Gabe Rodreick, a born musician who had 11 years of piano under his belt before breaking his neck (and losing his finger movement) when he was just 15, that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Gabe however eventually came back and found a new instrument to replace the one he could no longer play – his voice. Now the lead singer of the up and coming band Treading North, Gabe has figured out how to have both a successful creative outlet and the drive to keep his body ready for the cure. Read on for the determined story of a young man with big, daresay impossible dreams.

Why he’s fearless

It was a community service trip to Costa Rica that began Gabe’s disability journey. Body surfing all afternoon, Gabe dove into a sneaky shallow section of water and broke his neck at C5-6. He was eventually flown back the United States to undergo rehabilitation back home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

With the help of his determined father, Matthew, a budding filmmaker, Gabe traveled internationally for stem cell treatments. Not once has Gabe given up on his fight to get better since his injury. In fact, his father is spearheading an effort to pass a bill in Minnesota to fund spinal cord injury research. It would appropriate around $8 million dollars each year for research at the University of Minnesota. Watch

While the bill failed to pass last year, Gabe and Matthew are working hard right now, going to the Capitol weekly and hoping to persuade senators to see the importance of the bill this year. Last year, to help raise awareness of the bill, as well as on spinal cord injury awareness in general, Gabe’s father was able to recruit ex-NFL punter Chris Kluwe to star in a documentary and spend an entire day in a wheelchair.

Before his injury, Gabe was also student at a well known art-based high school in Minneapolis, which is where he studied piano. Since he could no longer play, it was a tough adjustment. It took him about three years to feel like creating music again, but once he did, it was with his voice and his new band, Treading North.

What’s next?

Over a year ago was the their very first public performance, which you can watch here. As a quadriplegic, it’s not easy for Gabe to sing a full set, but somehow he’s able to pull it off. And Treading North just released a new album, Beautiful Gone Wrong, and their single is “Dune.”

The band won the opportunity to have a free music video made for their single by a local film company. Check it out. And just last Saturday, the band had a special moment – they played the legendary Turf Club in St. Paul, a tiny club where thousands of amazing bands have performed.

Able to balance performing and band practice along with weekly gait training, FES and so much more, Gabe’s doing everything he should be doing, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

Have you discovered a new talent post-injury?

Learn more: Treading North

Watch a clip of the documentary: Chris Kluwe Rolls a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes

Learn more about the spinal cord injury research bill in Minnesota

Watch the videos

Senator Hayden Unveils Spinal Cord Injury Legislation

Treading North’s first public gig

Treading North’s first music video “Dunes”

Gabe and band jam out during am acoustic session

Music Then and Now: Gabe Rodreick’s Story

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