Tag Archives: SCI Superstar

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 of the Week: Eric Legrand

If you haven’t heard about Eric Legrand by now, you’re either not a college football fan or you don’t have a spinal cord injury, either way, you’re missing out on one heck of a story (and it‘s not a sob story either).

Eric was on the Rutgers football team when he broke his neck at the C3-4 level during a game in 2010, becoming paralyzed from the shoulders down in an instant. The entire sports world was in shock and his story (as they always are when an injury of an athlete is caught on video), was all over the media, and it still is for good reason.

Why he’s fearless

Although Eric’s story – a football player breaking his neck mid game – has been seen before in thousands of now ex-football players, his story certainly doesn’t end the same. Despite still being very much a quadriplegic, Eric was signed by the Tampa Bay Bucaneers last week, a dream he must have thought was certainly gone, to become their official sports announcer. Wow Tampa Bay. I really love you right now.

And although yes, it was a symbolic gesture (he received a jersey and helmet to seal the deal), it’s a very cool thing. How many of us with spinal cord injuries have had to settle with knowing that so many of our dreams will never come true? (raises hand) It’s a tough pill to swallow.

And Eric, despite his dream now being a variation of his dream, he’s still putting himself out there in this crazy world as much as he can, living and being the fearless SCI survivor that he’s become. He’s even returned to the field where he was injured for two special occasions, and remains consistently positive.

What’s next?

Now home from rehab (and still dating the same girl from before his injury. Gotta love that), Eric is keeping his body in shape as best he can, readying himself for the cure we all hope will come, and for the upcoming football season.

Dominate that mic, Eric LeGrand. Show the world that paralysis doesn’t put a cork in us.

Have you met Eric LeGrand? What have you learned from him?

Watch the videos

Eric LeGrand’s football accident

Eric LeGrand’s press conference after signing with the Bucs