My name is Dan Reed and I am a Paraplegic Wheelchair Athlete.
I'm a 59 y/o male, reside on the west side of Indianapolis, IN, retired on disability after having worked for 39 years, laid off in 2009 after 12 years as a Customer Service Representative with the Senior Resource Network, an Estate Planning Company.
I was first injured in 1978 at 22 years of age. On Monday, June 19th of that year at 11:00 AM, I was removing a 3500 lb steel dock plate, the kind forklifts use to get into the back of semi-trailers, when it suddenly collapsed. Being underneath, my body took the brunt of the weight, causing not only internal injuries, but also immediate paralysis of my lower limbs.
I spent 2 weeks in the IC unit at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, then at Hooks Rehabilitation Center, staying an additional 2 months for physical therapy. Afterward, I was an outpatient for the next eight months, trying to learn to walk again. One thing that motivated me at the time was my desire to water-ski again.
Exactly 1 year to the month of my accident, I fulfilled my goal by getting on 2 skis, then dropping one for slalom. Elation!
For over 22 years, I was able to walk and even run on my own, (with a noticeable limp). I climbed mountains in Arizona, played volleyball and in general, was able to live a fairly normal, able body life and even continued to work over the next 31 years, with no government assistance.
In late 1999 while playing volleyball, I broke the Fibula bone in my right leg. It didn't seem to be a big deal, but after the cast came off, I couldn't build my leg muscles back up. I started to lose more feeling and staggered while trying to walk. An MRI proved that I had spinal fluid build-up that was putting pressure on previously damaged nerves. Being told that I would need immediate surgery that could possibly give me a 50/50 chance to walk again, I said "Lets do it!"
After being down for 6 weeks, then through physical therapy for another 2 1/2 months at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, I ended up confined to the wheelchair, unable to walk, this time for good.
In June of 2001, I was invited to a water ski clinic, hosted by RHI Sports and conducted at Morse Reservoir in Cicero, IN. Just to be able to get out of my chair and into an adaptive water ski, the idea of ripping across the water again really got me excited!! Even though I needed help to do that, with people balancing me until the boat took off, I really had a blast! For the next two years, I attended the same 2 day clinic and always looked forward to those days on the water.
In 2004 at the age of 48, I was invited to an advanced water ski clinic, learning basic competitive skills and actually qualified for the National Championships that same year, held in MN. Of course, I didn't do very well at the event, but I learned a lot and had the opportunity to meet some of the top disabled water skiers in the World! Talk about wide-eyed enthusiasm, I could only watch and admire these people and hope I could someday learn to be as good as they were. After that fateful week of competition, I proceeded to train diligently, becoming a three-event skier; adept in Slalom, Trick and Jump.
Age:59 (March 19, 1956)
Disabled Water Ski Nationals Championships:
2004-MN, 2005-FL, 2006-FL, 2007-IN, 2008-IL, 2010-IN, 2012-CA, 2014-GA
Disabled Water Ski World Championships:
2009-Vichy, France, 2011-Cincinnati, OH, USA
2004 Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, first/fastest participant to cross finish line (51 minutes, 42 seconds) in Hand cycle/Wheelchair division.
2005 Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) Sports Program "Athlete Of The Year", Indiana Water Ski Association (IWSA) "NSA Skier Of The Year"
2007 US National Disabled Water Ski Championships, Silver Medal-Jump,
Awarded Royce Andes Award for "Promising New Nationals Skier"
2008 US National Disabled Water Ski Championships, Silver Medal-Men's MP3 Overall, Bronze Medal- Men's MP3 Slalom, first ever selected from Indiana for 2009 US Team
2009 World Championships, Vichy, France, finished 7th in Slalom and 8th in Tricks
Team Awards: 2009 World Champions-Gold Medal, selected US Water Ski's "2009 Team Of The Year", first disabled team ever selected for award
IWSA "Outstanding Achievement Award" and "Big Rigger (Jumper) of the Year Award"
2010 US National/Pan American Disabled Water Ski Championships, Silver Medal-MP3 Men's Jump, Bronze Medal-MP3 Men's Overall and Bronze Medal-PanAm MP3 Men's Overall, selected second time for 2011 US Team.
2011 Article that was featured on the front page of The Indianapolis Star, August 24, 2011
World Disabled Water Ski Championships, finished 13th overall in Slalom, (3rd on the Mid Buoy course) and 9th in the World in Men's Jump, finishing with a personal best of 57 feet.
USA Water Ski selected the team as the "2011 Team Of The Year", also for the second time and again, the only disabled Team ever selected for this prestigious honor.
I was selected for the "2010/2011 RHI Sports Adult MVP" Award.
Indiana Water Ski Association's "2011 Male Skier of The Year" Award
2012 I was featured in an article for April 2012 international edition of WaterSki Magazine
Silver Medal-Men's Jump at 2012 Disabled Waterski National Championships
Selected for 2013 US Team in Milan, Italy to compete in August, 2013, seeking an unprecedented 3rd World Championships in history.
2014 After having to miss the entire 2013 ski season, as well as unable to travel with the US Team to Italy due to medical conditions that kept me in bed for 5 months,
I trained hard and attended the 2014 National Water Ski Championships in Talking Rock, GA, earned a Silver Medal in Men's Sit Ski Jump of 57 feet, as well as earned a spot for the fourth time on the US Team to compete at the Disabled Water Ski World Championships to be held at Shortline Lake in Elk Grove, CA, September, 2015 to seek a 4th World Title in a row.
IWSA 2014 Comeback Skier of the Year Award.
Currently hold Indiana State Men's Sit Ski Jump Record-56 feet
Sponsors: Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana Sports (RHI Sports) Program, Indiana Water Ski Association (IWSA),
Robert M. Palmer Institute of Bio-Mechanics, Challenged Athletes Foundation
Activities: hand-cycling, working out, play guitar, reading, water ski training, help teach young disabled kids and adults the sport of water skiing. Through RHI Sports, I have also attended several other adaptive clinics, including white water rafting, rock wall climb, snow skiing, self defense, wheelchair racing, among a host of others.
I'm on the National Board of Directors of the Water Skier's with Disabilities Association (WSDA) as Midwest Co-Representative, the Indiana Water Ski Association's (IWSA) Board of Directors as Disabled Representative and the Indy Skiers Ski Club Board of Directors as IWSA Representative. The clubs mission is to introduce and teach the sport of water ski to ALL children and adults, able-bodied or disabled, regardless of race or religion. Our operations are conducted off of White River at Lake Indy, located at 18th and Lafayette Road in Indianapolis, IN.
Summary: Being on disability, I am fortunate that all of these endeavors have been partially funded solely through individual and corporate sponsorship's and donations.
My equipment includes 3 different types of skis (Jump, Slalom, Trick skis) that combined, weigh approximately 100 lbs, all packed in a single custom ski carrier, as well as two custom built ski cages that I use to sit into on the skis, personal luggage and my wheelchair, (I always exceed standard weight limitations), and of course the expenses for airfare, hotel accommodations, food, transportation costs, one week of training with the US Team prior to the event somewhere in the local area, plus training involved this season and the actual Worlds competition.
Each US Team member has been asked to raise approximately $3300.00 to help cover these expenses for the 2 weeks needed to train, compete and hopefully to win again.
I am asking for your support of mine and the US Team's cause to help make this a reality.
Donation's of any amount would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your valuable time and consideration.
2009/2011/2013/2015 USA DisAbled Water Ski Team Member
You can also make any checks payable to Dan Reed and mail to:
4311-4 Village Parkway Circle West
You Tube Video, Dan Reed 2011 World Championships
Indy Star Video, Dan Reed August 2011
"If ya ain't Tryin, yer Dyin!!"
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