The above video highlights the one year redemption of a High Fives Foundation Winter Empowerment Fund athlete. As a 16 year-old, Tahoe Vista, CA native Jake Hickman was well on his way to realizing his dream of qualifying for the U.S. Freestyle Development Group in the sport of mogul skiing. On December 22, 2011 the talented skier crashed while competing at a U.S. Freestyle Ski Team – Selection Competition in Steamboat Springs, CO. The reigning J2 National Champion caught the edge of his ski before one of the jumps in the course. The crash resulted in a spiral compression fracture of Jake’s T8 vertebrae with an incomplete paralysis of the spinal cord. At first uncertain of his ability to even walk again, Jake powered through a strenuous regimen of physical therapy to return to the sport he loves. One year later he returned to the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team – Selection Competition at time Copper Mountain, CO and placed 24th with a score of 74.23. This is in itself is a testament to the hard work that Jake has put in.
“It is interesting to think back on the last year of my life. Through this injury, I have learned a great deal about myself, have become a better person and realized the value of positivity in all aspects of life. The High Fives Foundation has helped me with my recovery by being an amazing positive support group, financially and personally. My complete recovery wouldn’t have been possible without them and their generosity, friendship and support.
The High Fives Foundation’s Winter Empowerment Fund provided Jake with rehabilitative healing therapies such as Physical Therapy with Scott Williams (P.T.) of Synergy Therapeutics, Acupuncture with Tyler Lapkin (L.Ac), Massage Therapy with Karen Stubbs (L.M.T.) and one on one training with Chris Cloyd (Fitness Director – Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso). These therapies along with time spent in the gym, with his TRX Suspension Training System and on the trails would not be possible without the generosity of 82 (and counting) donors that have directly contributed to this up and coming ski star. The Winter Empowerment Fund allocates donated funds to athletes that have applied for and been approved by the Board of Directors – Grant Selection Committee for a specific grant to assist in recovery from a life altering injury.
To learn more about the High Fives Foundation and the Winter Empowerment Program Service point your browser to highfivesfoundation.org. Also, stay up to date on upcoming events and information by following the High Fives Foundation on twitter and Facebook (twitter.com/hi5sfoundation and facebook.com/highfivesfoundation).
As Jake makes his way to the U.S. Freestyle Selection Group his positivity is a beacon of inspiration!