Monthly Archives: April 2015

SCI Superstar: Rob Parsons

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For race car drifters, drifting is a way of life, so when Rob Parsons was injured nearly six years ago, a gear-head through and through who fell in love with drifting with his dad, he couldn’t give up his number one life passion. Instead of saying goodbye to what he loved, he said hello to a whole new way of doing it.

But it wasn’t a gift from some sympathetic donor or sponsor that helped him return to doing what he loves. After looking at how expensive adapted cars would be, he decided to start building an adapted drifting car in his own garage, and it is nearly to completion. Read on for his story below.

Why he’s fearless

Rob Parsons, from Alberta, Canada, fell in love with drifting as a young man when Canada allowed a specialized car from Japan to be imported, which opened up the world of drifting to car enthusiasts in North America. Drifting, along with anything else on wheels, including dirt bike racing, became his life passion.

But in June 2011 while racing in a dirt bike race, his love for speed bit back. After going off a jump, he lost control of his bike and jumped off. While in the air he saw a fence coming his way, so he tensed his body for impact, and then he did the move that he regrets – he landed stiff-legged on the ground.

He landed so hard that he broke both legs instantly and severed his spinal cord at T9.  One of his ribs also broke and pierced his lungs in the fall.  Needless to say he was lucky to survive. Rob spent six months in the hospital, and was discharged to a life his therapists might have thought would be good for him – adapted sports and forgetting his old life – but it wasn’t.

This was impossible for Rob. He decided to get back into drifting, even though it’s ridiculously expensive to adapt drifting cars, and he bypassed a large portion of the costs by building the car himself along with the help of some of his friends when needed.

The first car he adapted was a Nissan 180SX, which he completely built into an adaptive Formula Drift car. He even built his own hand controls from scratch using electronic gear shifter made by Mastercraft and an electro hydraulic pump to move the salve cylinder.

What’s next?

The car however wasn’t meant for just Rob. He wants to share his car with others with mobility disabilities, letting them know what it feels like to get behind the wheel of a powerful drifting machine. That is why this year he founded The Chairslayers Foundation dedicated to just that.

The foundation specifically wants to get a 600HP drift machine, a more powerful vehicle for drifting, adapted. What Rob and his foundation is doing is so cool that the Discovery Channel asked for their help to help fulfill the dreams of a boy with leukemia who always wanted to drift. Watch the episode here.

Paralysis can happen to anybody and Rob’s story is a perfect example of that. We absolutely love how Rob’s giving back to the community too, and with one of the coolest new organizations we’ve seen in a long time.

Would you try adapted drifting?

– Rob’s site: Chairslayer

– Add him on Facebook: Chairslayer

– Follow him on Instagram: Chairslayer

Watch the videos!

– Rob Parsons the Chairslayer

Chairslayer Starts Custom v8 for the First Time

How to carve a pumpkin via adapted drifting

SCI Superstar: Amy Van Dyken

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Amy Van Dyken was a superstar long before she graced our SCI Superstar series. A former American competitive swimmer who won six Olympic gold medals throughout her Olympic career, she was the most decorated athlete at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

But last year, years after retiring from competitive swimming, Amy became a paraplegic in a freak accident with her whole life changing an instant. But she’s moved on from her injury better than most have expected, and she’s already reaching out to help others with spinal cord injuries.

Why she’s fearless

Amy’s pre-injury life was something only many could dream of – Olympic medals, traveling the world, forging a career in television, marrying the love of her life – but she worked hard to make it happen. Funnily enough it was asthma that first got her involved in athletics (to stay healthy) and this would jump-start her love of swimming and her future swimming career.

Attending both the University of Arizona and then Colorado State university, Amy’s career exploded in the nineties. After she retired in 2000, she married former NFL punter Tom Rouen who she’s still married to till this day (and yes he has stuck around post-injury). She also became a public speaker and sideline reporter for both the Seattle Seahawks in the Denver Broncos after retiring.

Also for several years in the later 2000’s she was a drive time host on 98.77 The Peak in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as the host of Fox Sports Tonight with Rob Dibble until 2013. Media is definitely another one of her passions in life.

And it was last June when Amy was injured, when out on a ride her ATV landed directly on her. If it wasn’t for the amount of muscle mass on her body from being in such good shape, Amy would’ve likely died since the ATV landed right over her aorta. The injury however did sever her spinal cord at T12. Amy had to go through a 6 hour spinal fusion and was eventually transferred to Craig hospital in Colorado where she spent two months of rehab.

The amazing thing about Amy since her accident has been her positivity. She already says, “I’m a better person than before the injury” and she’ll recount how she was getting disillusioned with humanity before her injury.  Now, post-injury, she says she sees the good in so many people willing to help her. “A seventy year old lady offered to help me get my wheelchair out of my car the other day,” she says.

What’s next?

Since returning home from her injury, Amy has been busy. She founded The Amy Van Dyken Foundation to help pay for medical supplies not covered by insurance for people with spinal cord injuries. “I want to stop people from having a shower in their backyards,” says Amy in her foundation’s intro video. Such a powerful statement, and so very true.

She’s also returned to sports reporting. Last February she covered Pac-12 Networks’ telecast of the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Amy refuses to quit. She hasn’t let her injury make her take any steps back in life. That is without a doubt the true Olympian spirit within her.

How has Amy’s foundation helped you?

– Amy’s foundation: The Amy Van Dyken Foundation

– Learn more: Team Reeve for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Amy on Twitter

Amy on Instagram

Watch the videos!

CNN: Amazing Olympian Amy Van Dyken

Amy Van Dyken Foundation: Welcome Video

Check out Olympian Amy Van Dyken’s new tricked-out kitchen