Ryan Lambert of Waco, Texas was on the fast-track to athletic success. An accomplished high school football player, he had been negotiating with a number of colleges about signing on to play for their teams. However, nothing could prepare Ryan or his family for the tragedy that occurred in his junior year. He had been driving to school early for a track meet when he fell asleep at the wheel, his car drifted off the road and rolled before settling upside down.
Ryan’s crash resulted in a complete spinal cord break at the T-3, T-4, and T-5 vertebrae, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. The injury changed everything for him after the crash. With a complete lack of mobility in his legs, his future in college sports was all but lost. What were once every-day activities and functions became difficult chores as Ryan learned to adapt to his disability.
Though his accident had severely damaged and changed his body, Ryan didn’t want his injury to change who he was. He didn’t want to become a depressing and bitter person to be around, rather he wanted to remain a positive influence on his family, friends, and those in his same situation. He finished high school and attended Tarleton State University to earn a degree in business. He goes to physical therapy twice a week, and works part-time at his therapy clinic, handling referrals and scheduling appointments. He stays in shape with regular work-outs. He volunteers as a counselor at Camp Xtreme, a sports camp for disabled kids, as well as Challenger Little League, an adaptive baseball league for kids.
Ryan was raised around the water, often traveling to the local lake with his family. He has held interest in scuba diving for some time, but between equipment costs and his disability, has been hesitant to give the sport a try. As a new recipient of the Dive Pirates Foundation, we hope to give Ryan everything he needs to experience the water from below the waves. He trained with his girlfriend and Adaptive Buddy Hannah at Blue Sea Adventures with Mike Knapp.