Tag Archives: Red Bull

SCI Superstar: Riley Poor

Riley Poor is a lifelong professional in the world of action sports filming. In his previous AB-life, he was a film director at Red Bull capturing footage of skiing, snowboarding and free-ride mountain biking. “It was the type of dream job that few are lucky enough to encounter,” he gushes.

Post-injury, however, Riley had to re-tool his career, but he’s been able to stay true to what he loves. From becoming an executive producer at Nike to writing a new blog in which he and his girlfriend share their life together in Portland, Oregon, Riley has made an impressive transition since becoming paralyzed. Read on to see exactly what we mean.

Why He’s Fearless

In high school, Riley, now 34, began filming action sports, and he knew right away it was something he wanted to pursue. His career in the industry took off, allowing him to have an amazing professional life in his early 20s. But in 2009, everything changed when Riley jumped into a shallow pool, breaking his neck. “I was jumping off the edge of the pool doing a backflip and a friend jumping in next to me pushed me and stopped my rotation,” he says. “My head lightly clipped the bottom of the pool, and all the angles were just right to dislocate at C5/6.”

Knowing plenty of people with SCI before his injury because of his work in extreme sports, Riley was more prepared than most for his new life with a SCI. “I was surprisingly at peace with my new reality and somehow knew that this was a test I was meant to take,” he says. “I also knew enough quads and paras to know that I would never be the same.”

Once he was discharged from the ICU at a New York hospital, Riley chose Craig Hospital as his rehab facility. “And I hopped a $26,000 flight to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado,” he says, “where I spent the next four months rehabbing.”

Impressively, Riley never let his career fall to the wayside. “My injury was barely a break from work as I was in production on a self-directed documentary for Red Bull that I still somehow managed to deliver on time that year,” he recalls. “My opportunity to come to work at Nike came shortly after finishing the film, and I jumped on it and have been happily riding my desk here ever since.” He is currently an Executive Producer in the production studio at Nike, making films and advertisements.

What’s Next?

About three years ago, Riley’s life improved significantly in two more ways – he met his girlfriend, Andrea, and he began the remodel of a single-story home he recently purchased. On a tight budget and using some awesome creativity, Riley and his architects designed a beautiful universally accessible home without breaking the bank. A one-bedroom home with an open bathroom in the bedroom (with a curved glass shower made from basic materials), his house is something to behold. Go on a house tour with Riley here.

And check out his and Andrea’s blog, Poor House Love. Through their blog posts, they share what it’s like to have a spinal cord injury in a relationship. You’ll find posts on traveling together as a couple, tiny homes for wheelchair users (Riley’s family helped invented the WheelPad), even the benefits of using a hyperbaric chamber to ease chronic pain (it works!).

Life may not be the huge adrenaline rush it was before Riley’s life, but he’s 100% ok with that. He had his fun. “I have a drone that I play with for fun,” he says. “I also enjoy getting out and about on my electric arm bike when the sun is out, and Andrea and I have also become dedicated gardeners.” So yeah, life is still good for Riley, just in a different way.

Post-injury, did your desire to live life at full-speed waver at all?

– Follow Riley & Andrea’s adventures: Poor House Love

 Riley’s blog: The Life of Riley Poor

Watch Videos of Riley

A Day With Riley Poor

Runs for Riley Poor

Universal Accessibility by LineSync Architecture | Portland, Oregon | Riley Poor Home

SCI Superstar: Barney Miller


You may have heard of disabled surfers before, such as Christian Otter Bailey and Jesse Billauer, but if you’re not familiar with the disability scene in Australia, chances are you’ve never heard of Barney Miller, a quadriplegic surfer who’s been feverishly raising money for spinal cord injury research since his injury.

What’s even more exciting is that Barney’s fundraising has recently gotten a huge boost thanks to an exciting new partnership Barney has signed on for with Red Bull, who’s decided to take on his cause by naming his fundraising goals the main beneficiary of a brand new worldwide marathon.

Also a fiance to one of Australia’s most well-known singer songwriters, read on for the story of Barney Miller.

Why he’s fearless

Growing up in the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Barney Miller was always in the water. A lifelong surfer who had a promising career before him, everything changed when Barney was in a car accident at 19 years old, breaking his neck from the C3 – C6 level (and missing death by a hair).

When he was initially injured, he was ventilator dependent and his doctors didn’t give him any hope for any return. But Barney, being who he is, refused to accept that as his reality, and worked his butt off in rehab not only getting off the ventilator but becoming a manual wheelchair-user.

After rehab, Barney went home and put the notion for the time being of getting better behind him, and needed to raise money for everything he needed. He and a friend decided to start the Barney Miller Classic, an annual surfing tournament where all the proceeds now go straight to spinal cord injury research.

In 2009 however, Barney’s entire mind-view of what was possible changed when he heard about Project Walk, the repetitive motion-based rehab center, and he’s been going since, spitting his time between Carlsbad, California and Australia (overall he’s spent more than two years at Project Walk).

Since attending Project Walk, he’s been able to take a step unassisted with the walker and can now stand with minimal assistance and his ultimate goal – to be able to walk down the aisle when he gets married.

Barney’s engaged to Kate Southwell aka “Kada,” an Aussie singer-songwriter with great beauty and a great voice. When the two first met in 2007, Barney said he wouldn’t propose till he could get down on one knee, and that is what he did in 2012. Their love story is amazing, and the two are set to be married in April 2015.

What’s next?

In the last year, Barney’s story has hit the worldwide level thanks to Red Bull, who decided to make his cause – raising money for spinal cord injury research – the official cause of the first annual Wings for Life run, a worldwide run taking place on May 4, 2014 in 35 different countries. This will hopefully raise millions. Learn more about Wings for Life

His story is also set to be documented in the upcoming film, “No Means Go,” which is also Barney’s personal motto. Spearheaded by Trinity films, a small film company started by NYU film students, it’s a peek into Barney’s everyday life and drive to get better. Watch the promo for No Means Go (release date is April 2015)

Barney’s story is one every newly injured person should hear. His strength and perseverance all these years to still get better, and to actually do so, is amazingly hopeful, and shows that with a little bit of toughness you too can reach for your dreams.

Have you tried surfing?

Facebook page for No Means Go

Watch the videos

An inspirational quadriplegic surfer – Barney Miller: A day in the life

Rip Curl On The Rock – Day 19 Living Life w/ Barney Miller

Barney working out at Project Walk in Carlsbad, CA

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