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Quadriplegic sailing instructor defying odds of disability

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Spinal Cord Injury:

WHISKEYTOWN LAKE, Calif. – Michael Strahle is a quadriplegic sailing instructor at Whiskeytown Lake but he isn’t letting his disability define him or stop him from doing what he loves.

Strahle became paralyzed from the waist down after he shattered his fifth vertebrae during a skiing accident when he was 25-years-old. After the accident, Strahle spent many months in rehab and after he was released, he went straight into sailing.

“You know, I look at the good. I got this and that and I can do this with my wrist. I have no grip in my hands, no this way or anything but that means I can do a lot of things,” Strahle explained as he showed what he can do with his hands.

Strahle said he’s been sailing for 30 years and started sailing before his accident.

“It’s really, a really highly aggressive sport and can be real exciting,” Strahle said. “I need excitement and thrill and competition and sailing has all that.”

Strahle shared he’s been in 29 regattas and has competed in sailing competitions around the world.

“It doesn’t really get frustrating because I can’t grab or anything like that. I know I can’t so, why would I spend cognition thinking about something that I can’t do,” Strahle said about his disability.

Strahle is now the Executive Director of the Community Sailing Center. He has been offering lessons at the Redding Yacht Club for five years.

“We offer sailing year around. So if you want to sail, you can come see us. We know what we are doing we are world class racers,” Strahle shared.

You can check out what the Redding Yacht Club has to offer here on their website.

By Madison Wade

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