High Fives: Athlete Gives Back After Life-Changing Injury

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Roy Tuscany’s dream of becoming a competitive freestyle skier was interrupted by a life-altering spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. But rather than getting bitter, he got better — working hard in rehabilitation therapy and later co-forming a nonprofit to help injured athletes regain their strength and love of sport. This is his story.

While pursuing his dream of becoming a competitive freestyle skier, Roy Tuscany suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury at Mammoth Mountain that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

But that’s not the end of his story. Nowhere close. 

After his accident, he was helicoptered to Renown Health for surgery and later admitted to Renown Rehabilitation Hospital for therapy to regain movement in his legs.

He spent 41 days at the Rehabilitation Hospital, working on his recovery for up to eight hours a day. But he didn’t let it get him down. Before each therapy session, Tuscany would go around the room and give everyone a high-five.

Meanwhile, his coworkers at Sugar Bowl Resort raised thousands to help him recover.

And once his recovery progressed, Tuscany decided to pay it forward by co-founding the High Fives nonprofit in Truckee, Calif. in 2009.

He helped form an amazing community to help injured athletes through inspiration and vigorous rehabilitation at the CR Johnson Healing Center and revive their love of sport and competition through adaptive camps. High Fives also works toward preventing more injuries through education.

Over the years, several athletes have come to the healing center in Truckee after being discharged from the Rehabilitation Hospital, including David Hewel, injured during a speed-flying accident in South Lake Tahoe, and Grant Korgan, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a snowmobiling accident. Korgan is the first adaptive athlete to reach the South Pole. 

To date, High Fives has helped more than 100 athletes and dispersed more than $1.2 million in grants. Tuscany still returns to the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital to offer encouragement to patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries to continue their functional improvement.

From giving out high-fives in rehab to forming High Fives, Tuscany is an inspiration to many.

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    • Hello Heidi,

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