Parkite continues on after life-changing accident
When a skiing accident left professional skier and instructor Pelle Sederholm with a spinal-cord injury, he didn’t know if he’d ever walk again. Now, four years later, Sederholm is not only walking, he’s participating in today’s Summit Challenge 100-mile bike race.
When Sederholm woke from a 26-day coma four years ago, doctors told him he had broken his neck and suffered severe brain damage, and diagnosed him as an incomplete quadriplegic with limited mobility in his hands and legs.
He was told it would take years to learn how to function physically and emotionally with his new disability. But Sederholm said he was determined to make them the best years of his life.
“What I decided on, very early, was to create new and better memories,” he said.
Following seven different surgeries in 2007, he learned how to walk again. With help from the National Ability Center, the Paralympics committee and rehabilitation doctors, he not only learned how to ride a standard bike, but how to compete in events designed for someone with his type of injuries.
Sederholm said he wants to be an example to others who face challenges in life.
In 2007, he co-founded “The Memento Vivere Remember to Live Foundation,” dedicated to elevate the life of those with spinal-cord injuries. He also works closely with the National Ability Center to be a role model to others who are training for athletic events.
Ryan Jensen, marketing and outreach manager for the National Ability Center, said the mission of the center is to develop lifetime skills through affordable sports for those with disabilities. He said the recreation experiences can make a difference in athlete’s family and personal lives.
The center provides the training and equipment for the athletes and gives them a recreational outlet so those with disabilities don’t feel sheltered.
“We want them to learn to participate in the same things (as athletes without disabilities,” Jensen said. “A lot of them just need some instruction on how to accomplish that.”
For Sederholm, being able to compete athletically again has made all the difference.
“I’m the happiest man alive,” he said. “I really am able to live again.”
Sederholm said he will be participating in the Paralympic cycling training camp in Colorado Spring, Colo., Sept. 11-19, where he will learn how to compete in road cycling, track cycling and time trial.
Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff