Rise Up: Grant Korgan
[Editor's note: Writer and skier Sally Francklyn suffered a traumatic brain injury in March 2012. In this series, called Rise Up, Sally is interviewing other people in the freeskiing community who have also been dealt unimaginable hardships and managed to come out on top. This is the final story in the series.]
Grant Korgan is a pusher. On March 5, 2010, he suffered a spinal cord injury in a snowmobiling accident in the Sierra Nevada backcountry. He fractured his L1 vertebrae and awoke in the hospital with no feeling from his waist down. Over the next several years, through extensive physical therapy and a lot of determination and hard work, Korgan has gone from a wheelchair to assisted walking and now he can feel down to his knees. He hasn't let his injury stop him from doing the things he loves. In 2012, he set out to become the first adaptive athlete to reach the South Pole in a sit-ski for a documentary called "The Push." I spoke to him about how his injury has changed his life, in many ways for the better.
Recovery is a lot like doing a backflip on skis -- lead with your head and the body will follow.
I have 100 percent control over turning my attitude, direction and action toward the positive outcome I want to experience now.
Sports are the workout language my body likes to speak. So my wife, Shawna, has created an activity-based recovery plan for me.
Since my injury, I seem to notice the small details around me, the things that are beautiful.
I am proud to say I now ask myself what I am supposed to learn from things.
One of the most incredible silver linings I could have experienced from going through a spinal cord injury is the never-ending amount of beautiful humanity that I have seen through this process.
My injury has not changed my zest for life, my desire to explore nature, my passion. It has not changed the magic.
Day five across Antarctica's Polar Plateau was the day when I started listening to the music made for me by my wife and DJ Neutrino. I put the headphones on, pushed through a 10-hour day and burst into tears thinking about the friends, family and world at home sending love and positivity my way.
Achieving the greatest personal goals -- no matter how big or small -- is pure bliss to me.
I believe the best way to make the body move is to move it.