My Disability Story: Chris Rivera

My injury happened when I was 18yrs old in May of 2000. I was a gunshot victim of a robbery attempt while I was outside just up the street from where I lived at the time. I was one week away from my high school graduation, so I missed out on the opportunity to “walk” with my classmates. While in the hospital I was approached by Todd Richardson, who introduced me to the idea of adaptive sports. He is also a T-4 paraplegic, and a mentor to many newly injured individuals. At the time I was mainly interested in recovering from my T-4 T-5 para injury. However, wheelchair basketball is the one sport that grabbed my attention. It took me about 2yrs before I would give the sport a chance by coming to practice. Once I came I was hooked. My friends/teammates are my main support group and have helped me in ways I can’t even express. I’ve now been playing with the local team Triangle Thunder, formerly Wake Wheelers, for 11 seasons. During this time I was introduced to the ADA CIL by a teammate and great friend Michael Atkins. I started out doing some volunteer work by way of assessing public buildings and parks. This turned into as needed work for the office, answering the phone and handling office supplies, etc. I was then hired as a part time staff to cover the front desk. I then was given the opportunity to be more involved with consumers by becoming a Independent Living Specialist. This job allows me to hear peoples stories and needs and really be in a position to encourage and assist them in any way I can. What’s also great about it is that I can draw from my personal experience and knowledge of having a disability to help them.

Feel free to email me (chris@adanc.org)for more information on adaptive athletics or for anything you might need.