Loma Linda University PossAbilities is recognized by the US Paralympic Committee as a Paralympic Sports Club. We are proud to announce the development of our new paralympic program called the ‘Road To Rio’! This new program is geared toward training and priming elite athletes to compete for a place on the National and U.S. Paralympic Teams in several sports including cycling, triathlon, and canoeing. Last year, we sponsored several athletes to train and compete on the national race calendar including the USA Cycling Para Cycling National Championships Time Trials in Augusta, GA. As a result four members of PossAbilities qualified for the Paralympics National Cycling and Emerging Teams. Other athletes will continue to train to improve their performance and compete for a spot in the 2016 Paralympic games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. It is only through YOUR SUPPORT that we can make this happen!
Our paralympic hopefuls are paratriathlete Andre Barbieri, handcyclist Delmon Dunston, and canoeist Greg Crouse. Meet our athletes:
Since the injury that cost him his left leg, André Barbieri has developed a passion for triathlons. In 2010, Andre fell victim to a snowboarding accident that culminated in the amputation of his left leg. Andre suffered a compound fracture to his femur that severed his femoral artery, tore the nerves and veins in his leg, and he nearly died after losing a lot of blood. As a member of Team PossAbilities, Andre has worked with prosthetists at Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus to develop a biking leg and a running leg that will allow him to train and compete in paratriathlon events. His dream is to one day compete in the Paralympics Games! Please click HERE to follow Andre’s blog.
On July 14, 2000, Delmon Dunston was practicing wrestling moves with a friend, performing a double leg take down when his head hit his grappling partner’s hip. The force from the move shattered his sixth vertebrae in his neck. Del was rushed to Loma Linda University Medical Center where doctors discovered that he not only shattered his vertebrae but injured his spinal cord as well. As a result of the injuries sustained, Del was paralyzed from the chest down. For two years after the accident Del tried to piece his life back together. Today Del is not only a spokesperson for Team PossAbilities as well as an accomplished Quad Rugby player but a full-time handcyclists training for a spot on the US National Team as an H1 handcyclist. Recently, Del placed third in his category at the US National Championships in Augusta, GA. Please click HERE to follow Del’s blog.
In Aug 1988, Greg Crouse was serving overseas as a Cannon Crewman on a Howitzer Battery in the US Army. While a pedestrian on a weekend furlough from Duty, Greg was struck by a drunk driver on a motorcycle, rupturing his stomach, cracking his hips, shattering his left femur in four places, and severing his left leg below the knee. Crouse was Heli-lifted to the nearest Euro Hospital to be treated, flat lining twice, once on the Helicopter in route and once on the operating table. Recovery and physical therapy ensued for over 18 months stateside. Upon his honorable service discharge, Greg drifted aimlessly and fell into a bleak and dark period in the ‘90’s. Not finding himself again until his discovery of adaptive sports and activities in 2001 with other disabled Veterans and motivated athletes. Greg has represented the United States 4 times now in international competition in outrigger canoeing and hopes to continue to achieve his goals in Hungary (2011), Calgary (2012), and secure the first ever Open Men’s “Para-canoe” selection in the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Please click HERE to follow Greg’s blog.
My name is Nicholas Gleissner, I was born and raised in Riverside County, California. In February 2006, I was diagnosed with childhood cancer. The cancer affected my neurological system, which caused problems with my motor functions. The first two years required me to relearn how to walk, talk, dress, feed and groom myself again. Connectors in my brain were not working correctly, and at first, when I was learning how to walk, I couldn’t turn to the right. My memory was affected. I did not know who I was or how to communicate. I developed double-blurred vision, which required me to have specially made glasses. I also had to make multiple adjustments in order to work with my new, unfamiliar disabilities. I was left with right-body paralysis and later developed a movement disorder. I went from a 180-pound lean football player to an almost 300-pound monster. The steroid therapy was to blame for the intense weight gain, but it was needed to reduce the swelling in my brain. After three and a half years of enduring treatment after treatment, therapy after therapy, I returned to high school to complete my senior year and finally graduated. I have completed two double centuries and 15 single centuries. In addition to gaining thousands of miles of experience, 2015 has been an exciting year and has kept me busy! I competed the 2015 Redlands Bicycle Classic and received a 1st Place, Para-cycle Time Trial & Para-cycle Road Race. May 2015 launched my passion for road cycling even more as I was one of ten individuals recognized as a 2015 Break Away from Cancer Champion at the Amgen Tour of California, Los Angeles CA. I met some of my idols in pro cycling. Following, I traveled to the 2015 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road, Time Trial, & Para-cycling National Championships at Tennessee. This was my first National event where I was also classified as a C4 Para-cyclist. Please click HERE to follow Nick’s blog.
PossAbilities is currently seeking sponsors to provide financial support for the next four years to our potential paralympic athletes. To make a tax-deductible donation to the PossAbilities Paralympic Program please click HERE and insert ‘Road To Rio Program’ in the “Comment” section. You can also follow your favorite paralympic athlete through their own blog posted right here. If you are interested in sponsoring a specific athlete please contact Pedro R. Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry into the Road To Rio Paralympic Program is done by personal interview only on a case by case basis and subject to available funds. For more information on joining this program please our office at (909) 558-6384./