On December 22, 2011, 16-year-old Jake Hickman crashed while participating at a United States freestyle ski team selection competition in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The reigning J2 junior national champion caught the edge of his ski in the snow before a jump and the accident resulted in a spiral compression fracture of his T8 vertebrae with an incomplete paralysis of his spinal cord. Doctors were unsure whether he would ever walk again.
The High Fives Foundation, a non-profit that assists injured action sports athletes with rehabilitation, stepped in and helped Hickman obtain the services of a team of doctors and skiing experts. A year later he was back in the United States freestyle ski team selection competition at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Watch the video to witness his year-long transformation.