Loma Linda University PossAbilities is recognized by the US Paralympic Committee as a Paralympic Sports Club. In 2014 we developed our new paralympic program. This program is geared toward training and priming elite athletes to compete for a place on the National and U.S. Paralympic Teams in several sports including cycling, triathlon, and canoeing. It is only through YOUR SUPPORT that we can make this happen!
Our paralympic hopefuls are paratriathlete Andre Barbieri, paracyclist Delmon Dunston, paracyclist Jenna Rollman, paracyclist Chris Sproule, paratriathlete Zimri Solis, paracyclist Ryen Reed, and paracanoeist Greg Crouse. Meet our athletes:
Since the injury that cost him his left leg, André Barbieri has developed a passion for triathlons. In 2010, Andre fell victim to a snowboarding accident that culminated in the amputation of his left leg. Andre suffered a compound fracture to his femur that severed his femoral artery, tore the nerves and veins in his leg, and he nearly died after losing a lot of blood. As a member of Team PossAbilities, Andre has worked with prosthetists at Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus to develop a biking leg and a running leg that will allow him to train and compete in paratriathlon events. His dream is to one day compete in the Paralympics Games! Please click HERE to follow Andre’s blog.
On July 14, 2000, Delmon Dunston was practicing wrestling moves with a friend, performing a double leg take down when his head hit his grappling partner’s hip. The force from the move shattered his sixth vertebrae in his neck. Del was rushed to Loma Linda University Medical Center where doctors discovered that he not only shattered his vertebrae but injured his spinal cord as well. As a result of the injuries sustained, Del was paralyzed from the chest down. For two years after the accident Del tried to piece his life back together. Today Del is not only a spokesperson for Team PossAbilities as well as an accomplished Quad Rugby player but a full-time handcyclists training for a spot on the US National Team as an H1 handcyclist. Recently, Del placed third in his category at the US National Championships in Augusta, GA. Please click HERE to follow Del’s blog.
In Aug 1988, Greg Crouse was serving overseas as a Cannon Crewman on a Howitzer Battery in the US Army. While a pedestrian on a weekend furlough from Duty, Greg was struck by a drunk driver on a motorcycle, rupturing his stomach, cracking his hips, shattering his left femur in four places, and severing his left leg below the knee. Crouse was Heli-lifted to the nearest Euro Hospital to be treated, flat lining twice, once on the Helicopter in route and once on the operating table. Recovery and physical therapy ensued for over 18 months stateside. Upon his honorable service discharge, Greg drifted aimlessly and fell into a bleak and dark period in the ‘90’s. Not finding himself again until his discovery of adaptive sports and activities in 2001 with other disabled Veterans and motivated athletes. Greg has represented the United States 4 times now in international competition in outrigger canoeing and hopes to continue to achieve his goals in Hungary (2011), Calgary (2012), and secure the first ever Open Men’s “Para-canoe” selection in the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Please click HERE to follow Greg’s blog.
Zimri Solis was born on December 31, 1982, in Ocotlán in Jalisco, Mexico. He was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis at the age of 10. One day he spiked a fever, his whole body was hurting and he lost consciousness. His parents were alarmed with the symptoms he was having and took him to the hospital. They were there for a couple of hours before the doctors realized his condition was declining and he was much more serious than they initially thought. Zimri’s parents noticed a helicopter that was landing to pick someone up, little did they know that the helicopter was there for their son. Zimri was immediately airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. When we arrived at Loma Linda, he had no vital signs and was pronounced dead. His family, doctors and nurses started praying for him, and within a short period of time his vitals came back. The doctors explained to his parents that the deadly virus was spreading to his whole body. In order to stop the spread of infection, they had to amputate his limbs. His parents, shocked with the news, didn’t know what to do, but ended up deciding to save Zimri’s life. After several amputation surgeries, he was kept in a coma for four months to allow his body to heal. Zimri describes waking up from the coma feeling like he was reborn. He had to learn how to walk and use his limbs all over again. After being discharged, he started his rehabilitation process at East Campus. While in rehab, he met Murray Brandstater, M.D., who helped him through all of his rehabilitation and surgeries. He became a regular visitor and patient of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Department where he was fitted for prosthetics. He adjusted well and learned that if there was a goal he wanted to reach there was nothing that could stop him. Zimri had an active childhood playing sports and overcoming whatever obstacles he faced. He got involved with the PossAbilities program and has now devoted his life to making a difference for others. He meets with patients in and out of the hospital to share his life story with others in an effort to give them hope and encouragement. He often speaks to Loma Linda University students to help them understand patient care and how to meet the needs of their future patients. Zimri is a father, mentor, and ambassador. He has made it his life’s work to make a difference for others and for that reason he is a hero!
In 2003, I was a Firefighter working for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue at one of the busiest fire stations in the country. On May 23, 2003, I was paralyzed in an accident. Not long after my accident an organization that helps address mobility issues for those with physical challenges provided me with a handcycle. That handcycle sat staring at me for years, only brought out for the occasional recreational ride, until I decided that both the handcycle and I could sit no longer. As I worked my way steadily from recovery to rehabilitation, and re-entry into family, friends, work and school, I began to see handcycling as a way to regain my independence, my identity as the lifelong athlete that I had been and, perhaps, to serve as an inspiration for others to move ahead and beyond the challenges that life can throw at you. Three years ago, I passed that original handcycle on to another young man, hoping it would serve as encouragement to move forward as it did for me. I would like to continue that message, setting in place the opportunity to endure, excel, and to exceed, by earning the right to be a Paralympic contender. Fourteen years and thousands of miles later, I am a competitive handcyclist trying to earn a place on the United States National Team and compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. One of the most humbling things I have learned is that Olympians don’t get to the Olympics on their own. They have the support of family, friends, coaches, team members, their employers, and countless other people they may have never even met before. The support, ranging from words of encouragement from complete strangers to family and friends traveling with me around the country as my “pit crew”, has been incredible. I can’t even begin to express how appreciative I am. I started competing 4 years ago. My training includes cycling, strength, speed, and endurance training, and nutrition management. My coach is one of the best in the handcycling sport. With hard work and great coaching, I have seen success at the national level. Over the last three years, I was also invited to participate in five U.S. Paralympic Training Programs, just one more step in my quest to make the U.S Team. I am humbled be a member of Team PossAbilities and am excited about sharing their vision of providing all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to discover the boundless ways to find joy and satisfaction in a meaningful life. PossAbilities has opened doors and given me opportunities that have had such an incredibly positive impact in my life and I am so appreciative for that. The reason I work so hard is because of my natural athletic competitiveness and my desire to represent the United States at the Olympic Games, the pinnacle of athletic competition. As a former NCAA Division I soccer player, and as a proud Las Vegas Firefighter, I know what it takes to be the best because I have played and worked with the best. As an individual who met obstacles early on, I am committed to sharing the vision for rising above the challenges that come our way by making the U.S. Team and bringing home the gold! Achieving my goal is not possible without your help.
My name is Jenna Rollman; I am currently a student at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. My focus of study is Nutrition and Food Science, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Registered Dietician and practicing at Loma Linda University. My disability is paraplegia caused by a spinal cord injury at level T8 that I suffered in a cycling accident on February 1st, 2013, with permanent spinal fusion from T6-T11. I have no sensation or movement below my ribs and use a wheelchair in my daily life. I have been a paraplegic for two and a half years, however I do not let this define me or limit what impact I can have in life. My passion in life is cycling and turning it into a vehicle for inspiration, positivity, fun, fitness/health, and opening up a venue of discussion about disabilities by being an active example of what people with spinal cord injuries and other disabling conditions CAN do, thus creating a new image of ability and strength beyond what culture and public opinion deem “normal” or “able bodied”. In losing half of my body I have gained more strength, determination, and self-confidence than I ever thought possible and this has led to a positive personal transformation that makes me proud to be myself. I am bigger than the confines of my physical body, and realizing the power I have within is the most beautiful thing of all, inspiring me to make a difference.
In my 26 years of life, I have gone through fifteen surgeries and counting. From hip surgery, double knee surgery, multiple achilles tendon lengthening, bunion removals, to hammer toe surgery on all ten toes. On top of all of these surgeries, I had gone through several different ordeals that included a full body cast, pins and needles, ongoing spasms, ankle foot orthotics to assist my walk, numerous hospital stays, and physical therapy since the age of one. I was born with hip dysplasia and eventually was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia, which is a form of Cerebral Palsy (CP). It affects my body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance. Staying active is such an important part of my life, because it keeps me strong and mobile to get around let alone to continue to compete in sports. A few years ago, I had a dream to compete in a triathlon. I thought it wouldn’t be possible because I am not able to run. I made the “impossible” possible and completed my first full triathlon with my race chair for the run section. I’ve always dreamed of competing in the Olympics. I thought my dreams were pretty impossible to accomplish due to my challenges, but then I learned about the Paralympics. Moving to the Olympic Training Center in 2017 has gotten me one step closer to that dream. I am focused on competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. It won’t come easy and there is a long way to go, but I want to represent my country and be the best possible para-athlete I have the ability of becoming. Inspiring others means the absolute world to me and is one of the main reasons why I want to compete at the highest level possible. This is only the beginning!
PossAbilities is currently seeking sponsors to provide financial support for the next four years to our potential paralympic athletes. To make a tax-deductible donation to the PossAbilities Paralympic Program please click HERE and insert ‘Paralympic Program’ in the “Comment” section. You can also follow your favorite paralympic athlete through their own blog posted right here. If you are interested in sponsoring a specific athlete please contact Pedro R. Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry into the Paralympic Paralympic Program is done by application (Below), letter of recommendation, personal interview, and review by the Paralympic Subcommittee. Participation in the program is subject to available funds. You can review our requirements and expectations in our Paralympic Program Policies.
For more information on joining this program please our office at (909) 558-6384.