Once a week, Tim Brennan meets with some friends for an organized game of basketball, rugby, and soon to be sled-hockey. Three times a week he also goes for ten-mile cycle rides on a path near his home in Montpelier, Vermont to train for local marathons. Cycling may not be his favorite physical activity, but it is the one that keeps him in the best shape while in his wheelchair.
In 2008, at the age of 20, Tim was involved in an ATV accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. During that point in his life, he had taken some time off after high school to work as an electrician. “I honestly did not know much about my injury at that time,” Brennan said. “I knew the difference between quadriplegia and paraplegia, but I had no idea about all of the opportunities to become involved again!”
Growing up Tim was always an active and competitive young man, involved in football, lacrosse, and his favorite, basketball where he excelled in the guard position. He loved the adrenaline rushes and he loved setting and accomplishing goals. After his injury, when the time was right and he felt ready again, Brennan met a man named Sandy Craig, a fellow spinal cord injury survivor, and decided to allocate some new goals for himself.
Together, Brennan and Craig talked about their injuries, their hopes, and discussed Brennan’s options for joining a local disabled athlete’s club. “Sandy is a great influence. He really takes the time to travel around, get to know people, and offer his knowledge and assistance,” said Brennan. “I am really glad there is someone like him out there to inspire others and get them involved again.”
Amongst other things, Tim is now happy and back in his beloved guard position. He and Craig also train together in cycling, meeting up frequently for rides on the path in Montpelier. “More than anything, Sandy has been a great friend to me,” described Brennan.
Although he missed registering for the Burlington City Marathon in late May, Tim is channeling all of his training efforts for the upcoming 5th Annual Kelly Brush Century Ride on September 11th. While not training for marathons or partaking in a pick-up game with his friends, he is also back at school taking liberal arts classes at The Community College of Vermont. Though he is not sure what exactly he would like to major in, he is leaning towards something in the computer science field. This summer he is also taking a medical terminology class.
Tim received a $3,000 grant from the Travis Roy Foundation for a new manual wheelchair. “The new wheelchair really makes it much easier for me to get around on a day-to-day basis; especially to and from my cycle path,” said Tim. “I am so glad and thankful for the Travis Roy Foundation and love what they do for us: they get the word out about our injuries and really do change lives.”