Having the opportunity to hit the slopes again was truly "a triumph" for him.
2019 Participant Bio
When it comes to overcoming challenges, Jimmy Green is no stranger. He spent his childhood playing a number of sports and when he was 17, joined the U.S. Army. He completed his initial training and arrived at his first duty station, Fort Lewis in Washington.
Fast forward to spring 1987, Green was riding in the back of a vehicle through muddy terrain when it began to slide downhill and eventually flipped over. He shattered his lower vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed at just 18 years old. “I don’t remember anything from that day. I just remember being in a helicopter, being medically evacuated to the hospital,” Green said. “The doctors told me when you experience trauma your brain sometimes forgets those memories.” Green returned home to Louisville, Kentucky, to live to with his parents while learning his new normal. Green wore a body brace after his accident and once he regained his independence, decided to move in with some of his able-bodied friends.
“The worst part [of my injury], was not being an athlete,” Green said. “Sports are what kept me in shape. I asked myself ‘who am I now?’” He watched his friends venture off on a ski trip every year for three years, leaving him behind because he had not heard of adaptive sports, yet.
He fell into depression because he was a young man bound to a wheelchair with no real outlet or friends who understood what his life was like. However, one day he received a letter that changed everything. “I got a letter in the mail one day that said they were starting a wheelchair basketball team in my town. I never heard of it before,” Green explained. “I remember going in the door and it immediately changed my whole perspective.”
Green was a changed man. Adaptive sports gave him a completely new outlook on life. However, the memories of missing out on that week of skiing with his friends stayed with Green. While participating in another Veterans Affairs sporting event, a fellow Veteran introduced Green to the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.
Green attended the clinic for the first time in 2000 where he used a mono-ski, a single ski mounted to a frame with a seat and a foot rest using specific designed outriggers to steer it. Skiing had always been a hurdle for Green, but having the opportunity to hit the slopes again was truly “a triumph” for him. It now brought him full circle as an individual, but it brought him closer to his wife. Green’s wife, who was born and raised in South America, never skied before. “Growing up [in Columbia], she never saw snow before. It was at the Winter Sports Clinic that she skied for the first time ever. We got her lessons and she’s gotten really good. Now, we’re at the same level.” Skiing in a mono-ski posed some problems because Green was able to get down the mountain quite a bit faster than his significant other.