Tag Archives: Spinal cord injury

SCI Superstar: Ben Clark

When it comes to adaptive fitness online, you may have heard of Ben Clark. He has one of the most active channels on Youtube catering to wheelchair-users who want to get fit. But his story isn’t just about his fitness channel. A lover, a survivor and yes, living life as a quadriplegic, this 28 year old from Poole, England is committed to living his life on his own terms in spite of his paralyzing injury. Read on to see exactly what we mean.

Why He’s Fearless?

A swimming accident in 2010 changed Ben’s life forever after he dove into a wave and broke his neck. He is now an incomplete C5-6 quadriplegic but fortunately has decent triceps function. What makes Ben really impressive is that he didn’t need much downtime after his injury. “I’ve always had a positive outlook on life and don’t let things get the better of me. I just saw my injury as a new experience.”

He has lived true to this belief system in the 8 years since his injury, which you can see on his social media channels. On his Instagram account he shares some incredible morsels of wisdom. Here is something he posted while traveling to Australia recently: “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” “I choose the hard path and yes it means that life is even harder still but it’s worth it to take me to beautiful places like the one in the photo.” “Adjust your mindset and create the life you want to live.”

One of the biggest influences on Ben’s life is fitness. Before his injury, he was on his way to becoming an Olympic swimmer. After his injury he attempted to be a Paralympic swimmer, but since it wasn’t the same, he decided to move on to something outside of the pool and found a new home – in the gym. It’s been the gym and working out in different ways that has motivated him over the years.

He began a video channel called Adapt To Perform a little over 1 year ago, and the videos he’s been making help people of all abilities get in shape. With 50 videos and counting, he shares every aspect of getting in shape as a wheelchair-user both physically and mentally. One of his most popular videos is his 20 minute HIIT workout showing wheelchair-users how to get a cardio workout while staying in their chair.

He’s also made several videos showing how he uses various pieces of exercise equipment using his Active Hands, which are gloves that help him hold heavy equipment without having good hand strength. He loves to do CrossFit-style ropes, various weight machines and he has even made videos on adaptive yoga with him transferring onto a mat. Ben is a workout/exercise machine and the internet loves him for it.

What’s Next?

But his life isn’t just about working out. An avid traveler, Ben visited Australia with his girlfriend Alice earlier this year and last year they traveled to Belgium. He also loves music festivals, doing SCI peer support whenever he can and what’s really cool is his commitment to also making SCI awareness videos.

One is videos is an interview with a friend who is a physical therapist who was injured while skiing, and he shares her story of survival. He’s also made several videos called “Life with Spinal Cord Injury/Two Quadriplegics Talk” where he and a friend talk candidly about life with paralysis. He also shares why his hands are the way they are, as well as helpful information like the benefits of CBD Oil.

We are excited to follow Ben as he continues to share his ever growing wealth of SCI exercise knowledge + more online with the world. The internet has needed someone of his caliber for us SCI folks for a long time.

– Follow his Youtube channel, Adapt To Perform

Adapt To Perform on Instagram

Watch his Videos!


Two Exercises For Better Wheelchair Pushing! | ADAPT TO PERFORM

Life with spinal cord injury part 1 (2 quadriplegics talk)

SCI & Infertility: A Profile of Two Couples (who beat it)

Gone are the days of men with paralysis not being able to have their own children biologically. Modern-day medicine has changed the entire landscape of fertility for SCI men. From the use of advanced at-home vibration techniques to invitro-fertilization, there are options available and they work. It’s just a matter of finding the method that works best for a man’s severity of injury.

It also isn’t cheap (loans are available). Thousands of dollars can be spent by couples, and it often is met with success. But this isn’t always so. It’s best to go into the getting-pregnant process with a cautious heart and mind. With that said, here are two awesome SCI infertility success stories. Both men are quadriplegics from the US and neither, as you will discover, had an easy journey in getting their partner pregnant.

Dan Hammers

Dan hammer, a C4 quadriplegic living in Lake Charles, Louisiana, never thought he’d have a child of his own. He was paralyzed in 1992 in a diving accident at 19 years old. After his accident, he moved with his family from Chicago to Louisiana. And it was here where he met Kari.

They say good spouses are found at church, and this is exactly where Dan met Kari. Soon after meeting, Dan and Kari were engaged, and were married in 2002. And like any married couple, they felt the desire to have a child. They knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so they began to find a fertility doc with spinal cord injury experience.

Where they live in Louisiana there were no specialists nearby, so they had to travel to Houston, Texas to see a fertility doctor at TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Outpatient Clinic – Dr. John Bertini to be exact. They started the process in 2009 and it wasn’t until 2012 when they finally got pregnant. They first underwent two failed IUI (Intrauterine Inseminations; where doctors help inseminate the woman using the man’s sperm).

Next, they decided to try IFV (in-vitro fertilization). The first time they tried it it failed, but the second time it was successful. Dan and Claire finally got pregnant January 2012 with a little girl. Gianna Claire Hammer was born on August 14, 2012, and as you can see from the photo above, she’s adorable. Congrats to The Hammers!

Ryan Buck

Lauren and Ryan’s story is a bit different. In Minnesota, the couple met in 2005 when Ryan was able-bodied. They had a whirlwind romance and within two years they were engaged. Before their wedding however, Ryan was involved in a snowmobile accident that left him a T5 paraplegic. Their wedding was planned for September 20th, 2008, but after his injury, they decided to postpone their wedding until 2010.

After getting married, they tried to get pregnant. Living near the world renowned Mayo Clinic, Lauren and Ryan decided to see a fertility specialist there. Unfortunately, they did not have success. After two failed IVF attempts, they were scheduled for a third but then the Mayo Clinic canceled because they discovered Lauren had uterine polyps (which makes it difficult to get pregnant).

They went back to the clinic for one more try, but after a third failed attempt they decided to try a new clinic in the Twin Cities – with Dr. Randal Corfman at the Midwest Center for Reproductive Health in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Finally, they found the fertility success they were praying for with Dr. Corfman, and after only one IVF attempt, they got pregnant April 2017. Lauren gave birth to their son, Silas Ryan, in January 2018.

Follow The Buck’s: Adventures with Heels & Wheels

Getting pregnant after a SCI may seem like something that is out of reach, but it not so! If you have a stable financial background, there are medical loans available to help pay for fertility treatments. Check out Prosper Health here for more information. And remember, adoption is another beautiful option that many SCI couples also consider.