Nick Romano has always been an avid snow skier, water skier, biker, and even dirt bike rider. With a passion for outdoor sports, he was constantly staying active outside and enjoying nature.
On December 21, 2016, though, all of his activity came to a traumatic halt when Nick was in a serious skiing accident that required two immediate surgeries and six days in the ICU -- and that was just the beginning. His spine broke at vertebrae T6, resulting in paralyzation from the chest down. He worked hard through a month in rehab, learned how to hand drive six months post-surgery, and was back on the slopes 13 months after the accident in an adaptive ski.
Because he is passionate about staying active, Nick decided to take on a brand new challenge and has committed to the 2020 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon hand-cycling division. This will be Nick’s first marathon, and it is not exactly how he ever pictured it.
“I have been training in my basement to build up my cardio strength, and once the weather breaks, I’ll be able to take my Force RX bike outside to hit some hills, practice my race pace, and get more miles in,” said Nick. “I’ve been talking to other people that have participated in the hand-cycling division and they say the first marathon changes you. You’ll come back to do more.”
Despite the challenges Nick has faced in life, he has refused to let anything keep him from moving. He knows that there is a chance he will never walk again, but he views his accident as a blessing because of the people he has met and the new activities he has tried.
“A lot of these experiences would have never been possible without the High Fives Foundation. They’re the ones who gave me the inspiration to get back out there and do what I love.”
The High Fives Foundation is a non-profit foundation that supports the dreams of outdoor action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who have suffered life-altering injuries. High Fives makes it possible for injured athletes to get adaptive equipment such as skis, bikes, and off-roading vehicles in order to continue doing the sports they love. It also provided some individuals with total home re-modifications and accessible features they didn’t have before.