Darryl is open and honest about the mental and physical challenges of adjusting to life as a T4 paraplegic including sharing his battle with several stages of depression. At first I wondered if he was always this softly spoken and reflective, or if that fateful day had taken the wind out of his adrenaline charged sails.
As is so often the case with active people who become paralyzed their focus post injury is on how they can get back to doing what they loved as soon as possible, and Darryl was no exception. He knew right away that sports would be the way to combat the dark days and take his mind off all the crap that goes with a spinal cord injury.
While still in physical rehab, much to the dismay of his physical therapist, Darryl began cruising around the hospital grounds in his wheelchair teaching himself how to drop stairs, hop curbs and spin on one wheel.
Before long the allure of the skatepark had him dropping into bowls, grinding rails, competing in WCMX competitions and becoming the first person in the world with a spinal cord injury to backflip a wheelchair.
But what Darryl is really passionate about is how the skills from the skatepark translate to navigating urban environments in a wheelchair. Before every WCMX competition, Darryl teaches clinics to others in wheelchairs with a two-fold purpose. The clinics get people in wheelchairs ripping around the park having a great time, but they also teach skills that translate to urban living and improve confidence and accessibility.
What are the three skills Darryl believes are essential to learn?
- A wheelie
- How to pick yourself up from a fall and get back in your chair
- How to navigate steep inclines