Today marks a full twenty years
that have passed since our founder and CEO Todd Brown’s accident, which
ultimately led to his idea to create 180 Medical. While it’s not an anniversary
we celebrate, we want to take a moment to reflect back on the past twenty years and
accentuate the positive outcome after his tragic accident.
Many of you may know by now
what an inspiring life Todd has led thus far. From an early age, he was very
active and participated in various sports like basketball and track. He grew up
around motorcycles. His dad was involved in a sport called motocross, which is
a physically-demanding, fast-paced form of motorcycle racing on mostly
off-road, closed courses. “Me and my brother started racing from a very young
age,” said Todd, recalling his passion for the sport. Then in 1994, after
graduating college and marrying his wife Annette, a tragic accident during a
motocross jump left Todd with a T-7,8 spinal cord injury. He was just 25 and
was now paralyzed from the waist down.
While in the hospital, Todd
called his closest friends and family to let them know what had occurred. His
wife and family rushed to be by his side, and one thing people noticed was that
his indomitable spirit had not been dampened. “He basically just made it like
‘God put this in front of me and gave me some challenges,’ and it didn’t make a
difference to him,” Randy Brown, his brother, recalls.
Todd knew his life would never
be quite the same as it was before his accident, but he was determined to
persevere. “I had a business, I had a family, and I was just trying to get out
of rehab,” Todd said, recalling those difficult first few months.
On top of
that, he battled seven urinary tract infections for seven months in a row.
Urinary tract infections are one aspect of difficulties that the newly
paralyzed can deal with as their bodies adjust to having to use intermittent
catheters in order to drain their bladder. Todd only knew to clean and reuse
the catheters, as he’d been taught to do in rehab. But the infections were
severely impacting the quality of his life, plus he had to deal with frequent
trips to the doctor and constant doses of antibiotics. Feeling worn down and
tired of being sick, Todd knew there had to be a better way.
Despite all of that, the drive
to stay active was
still inside Todd, so he began doing wheelchair races, and
he participated in his first wheelchair marathon just six months after his
One day, while attending a wheelchair
race, a fellow athlete friend talked to Todd about his issues with frequent
UTIs and asked if he’d ever heard of sterile-use cathetization (which is using a
catheter one time and then disposing of it, versus reusing after cleaning it)
and gave him a closed system catheter to try
out. Todd’s health began to improve, and he realized that, with continued use
of the right equipment and the right techniques, his quality of life had done a
180 degree turn back in the right direction.
It was not long after this that
Todd decided he wanted to start a company that would be able to provide the
right equipment, great service, and education to anyone who needed catheters
and other supplies. It was a leap of faith, and he and his wife didn’t have
much starting out, but Todd was ready to make his dreams a reality, so they
started their medical supply company out of their own garage. Todd just knew he
could make a difference in others’ lives.
Over those 20 years since
Todd’s accident, he has not only started 180 Medical, which is one of the
fastest-growing, nationally-accredited providers of sterile use catheters,
urologic supplies and ostomy supplies, he has also accomplished much more. He
and his wife are both strong advocates for adoption. He still takes times to
visit spinal cord injury patients in rehab, and he will often mentor the newly
injured. Even with his continually growing business, he finds time for his
family and his passions, like fishing, hand-cycling, snow-skiing, and staying
active in his church.
Todd’s story inspires everyone who hears it. He is a unique,
driven individual who has turned what could have potentially been a negative
situation into one that has not only earned him a successful business but
helped countless others who may be facing challenges of their own.
About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical
years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such
a fun, caring company! She loves writing, art, music, and spending time with
friends and family.