While he may be the founder and CEO of one of the largest urological supply companies in the United States, Bert Burns is not your regular businessmen with a spinal cord injury. Also a Paralympian, Bert carries on a passionate sports life outside of the office.
And that’s just the start of it. Also a motivational speaker, husband and father of twins, Bert’s accident infused in him not only the survival to live, but to live fully. To learn how he was able to do that and much more, read on for the story of Bert Burns.
Why he’s fearless
When he was 20 years old, studying business in college, Bert’s entire life changed. He was blindsided by a drunk driver while driving home after work one night and was thrown from the car, breaking his C6 and C7 vertebrae. A lifelong athlete, this injury was devastating.
Like most with SCI, initially after his injury he did not have anywhere near the ability he now has, but someone with a spinal cord injury he met a few years post-injury- “a rockstar quad” – showed him better ways to do everything, from transferring into the shower without a shower chair to an easier bowel program, and his life was changed forever for the better.
This experience led him to found Life After Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI), a nonprofit inspired by his initial company Uromed, founded in 1996, which has grown into become one of the largest urological supply providers in the nation. It was this, along with his experiences learning from others with spinal cord injuries, that motivated him to create LASCI, which is one of the most popular spinal cord injury groups on Facebook.
Their Facebook feed is full of inspiring photos, quotes and stories from the news, all of which show people with spinal cord injuries living full, active and most importantly happy lives post-injury. They have thousands upon thousands of fans.
But long before Bert dipped his hand in the business world, he was a gold medalist in the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992 in the sport of wheelchair racing. He loved to race and still does. He discovered shortly out of rehab and has been hooked since. His manual wheelchair at that time was 64lbs and he loved how quickly he could go in his racing chair.
Many years since his racing days, he is now an avid fan of handcycling; a more low impact way of working out now that he’s in his 50’s. Watch Bert describe his handcycle and where he likes to go
Another big thing occurred around the same time Bert founded Uromed in 1996 – he met his wife Joy. A whirlwind love story, the two were married soon after meeting and they now have twins – a boy and girl named Emma and Will.
Bert’s LASCI program also puts on peer talks at spinal cord injury rehab facilities across the country, with Bert as the lead speaker. A compelling motivational speaker, Bert is a natural when it comes to telling his story and relaying how he was able to move on. He motivates both people with spinal cord injuries and the able-bodied.
Bert is a shining example of what you can accomplish after a spinal cord injury, given just a slice of encouragement. Huge transformations can happen when you meet others with spinal cord injuries, something we here at SPINALpedia know all too well, and something we absolutely love to see.
Have SCI peers impacted your life?
– Visit: Life After Spinal Cord Injury on Facebook
Watch the videos!
– Save My Medical Supplies – Bert Burns & wheelchairs
– Bert Burns Speaks as Summa Rehab Hospital
– Bert Burns – the accidental interview with the Gold Medalist
– NBC 13’s Daytime Alabama Profiles UroMed’s Life After Spinal Cord Injury Motivational Program