A SaltWire Network Publication

Top News

Clarenville NL man proves attitude can conquer adversity with hand cycle

Greg Adams.
Greg Adams. - Jonathan Parsons
CLARENVILLE, N.L. —

His doctors told him he should expect to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

But Greg Adams was a stubborn 23-year-old.

Today, the Clarenville man is proving you shouldn’t always live up to expectations.

“I wouldn’t be walking if I didn’t be active,” Adams told The Packet.

After going in for surgery on his esophagus when he was 23, Adams was left with a spinal injury which paralyzed him from his chest down, taking away his ability to walk.

“Think of all of your muscles from your chest down – which is a lot. I lost everything.”

He spent a year in hospital recovering and another seven years in the chair.

It’s clear Adams has determination to keep fit and get moving. Today, 30 years later, Adams gets around with the use of a cane and is hardly hampered when it comes to sustaining his workouts.

In fact, with the recent spring weather, Adams looked at it as a good opportunity to continue to be active, just as he’s done year-round for decades.

“As soon as the weather gets nice, I’ll be riding as much as I can.”

Adams recently broke out his hand cycle, a bike he’s had for more than 20 years. He says he often takes the 21-speed cycle out for spins on the elementary school parking lot on Sundays, or on the paved track which encompasses Elizabeth Swan Park.

He says these days people can even get hand cycles as mountain bikes, with fat tires or electric assist.

But he’s not just a cycler. Adams has also been very involved in wheelchair basketball and sledge hockey over the years. Up until a couple of months ago, before the facility burned down, he frequented the local gym every day, now going to fitness classes several times a week.

His injury decades ago did nothing to hinder his active lifestyle. In fact, he wasn’t actually very athletic before the incident. Adams used the rehabilitation process as a way to become more focused on fitness.

“I went from rehab to working out,” he explains. “And I have a personal training and nutrition background … I had to retrain my body, so I had to stay active to stay healthy.”

Fast-forward to today, 30 years after the spinal injury, Adams is now, more than ever, always on the move.

“It’s a major part of my life.”

Jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

Recent Stories