“The stars were aligned that day for sure.”
The impact of the crash left Joe with four broken ribs, a laceration to his liver and eight broken vertebrae throughout his neck and back. The severity and complexity of his injuries meant Joe spent almost a month in a coma. When he awoke he found himself inside a nightmare, an incomplete C7 quadriplegic, paralysed from the chest down.
“I just figured if your legs don’t work, life’s over, I’d rather be dead… At that time, if you’d asked me, I would have said, I’m going to spend the rest of my life in a nursing home.”
Joe soon realised his injury was so much more than him not being able to use his legs.
“If all it was, was actually just not being able to move a certain muscle, then that would be easy. I didn’t realise it came was all the secondary stuff, the bowel and bladder issues, the sexual function issues, blood pressure issues.”
Joe found himself wallowing, focusing on the past and all the things he loved that he could no longer do.
“Like being able to stand in the clean water of the rivers in Montana and just feel the water running over my feet while I’m fly fishing.”
But then he stumbled across the film Murder Ball and discovered it was possible for him to lead a happy and fulfilling life. He started figuring out how to use his body, and to become more independent. This was all the motivation Joe needed and so he started setting goals.
“Because now I know it’s doable. Now, I know it’s attainable, it was up to me at that point, right. There’s no reason why I couldn’t other than whether or not I wanted to put in the work.”
The day before the one year anniversary of his accident, he returned from a massive hand cycling trip through Glacier National Park. Despite the up and downs this was the game changer for him.