Coping With A SCI: Richard Corbett's Story

This article contains a video
Written by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Wheels2Walking
Written by
Whitney Bailey

In 2010, Richard Corbett sustained a spinal cord injury from a 50-foot fall. He was paralyzed from the waist down with a crushed elbow and split open sternum. Medical professionals told him he would never walk again.


“There were a lot of unknowns about my injury at that time: How bad it was, How much I could recover, Was I fully paralyzed?! Would I be able to walk again?!”

Richard says his time spent in the hospital was a blur. He writes, “Because of the traumatic nature of the event, people would regularly have to remind me of what happened to me. I kept forgetting! Things were grim. I was constantly in and out of consciousness, having what seemed like an endless number of operations in order to put me back together the best they could.”

Richard remembers the first time he realized he would use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He was visited in his hospital room by another wheelchair user. “Then HE came in. The man in the wheelchair...I didn’t know anything about him or who he was… But I immediately became viscerally angry, furious, I yelled: “GET OUT! I DON’T WANNA TALK TO YOU!”

“I accepted my reality the best I could and worked on becoming the best person I possibly could in a wheelchair.”

Richard’s perception of his wheelchair slowly changed. “I didn't like being in the wheelchair, but I had realized it was my only effective option. I had tons of support from my family and friends cheering me on. The physical therapists were delighted because when I originally came in I didn't want anything to do with a wheelchair,” he says.

As one can see from the video above, Richard now uses crutches and his wheelchair as sources of mobility. 

Fast forward to today, Richard has created a YouTube channel called Wheels2Walking where he shares educational videos for those who are newly injured. He states, “Wheels2Walking is something I created for myself. Not my current self, but for my past self. That 20-year-old kid who had his entire future taken away from him. The kid who didn't know how to live life in a wheelchair. Who was constantly confused and constantly failing. The kid who wanted to fit in, The kid who wanted to feel normal, The kid who wanted to live an independent fulfilling life but didn't know how to. Wheels2walking is for him and everyone else going through the exact same thing.”

When asked, “How important is having a sense of community?” Richard says, “Scientific studies show that a person with an SCI who DOESN’T have a community is expected to live 1/2 as long as someone WITH a community. so I’d say it is pretty important. You can literally live twice as long if you surround yourself with others just like you :)”

Do you have advice for someone newly injured? Share your story with us at!

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