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Ian Chooses to Look Forward After His SCI

180 medical scholarship 2018 ian

Our founder Todd Brown created the 180 Medical Scholarship Program as a way to help students living with medical conditions like Spina Bifida, spinal cord injuries, and more. We offer this award each year to 7 deserving students to assist them with their career goals through higher education.

Last August, we proudly announced the 7 recipients of the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship. Since then, we’ve been featuring each inspiring scholarship recipient on our blog. Check out the other students featured so far, including Kale, Marissa, and Alaina.

Now, we’re excited to introduce our readers to Ian, a young man who demonstrated great determination and courage after a spinal cord injury left him a quadriplegic.

ian 2018 scholarship recipient quote

A Rough Landing on the Mat Ends in a Trip to the Hospital

By all accounts, Ian had everything going for him as he entered high school. He was a Division 1 wrestling and football recruit. He served his community by mentoring and coaching a local wrestling club, organizing a 5K race to benefit local firemen, and eagerly taking volunteer opportunities.

ian after spinal cord injury

In addition to his athletic achievements in football and wrestling, he also maintained high grades while staying active in his high school’s Key Club, campus ministry, and yearbook.

Then in the summer of 2016, the unthinkable happened. As he wrestled in a match during the World Team Trials, he landed on his head. Instantly, he was paralyzed from the neck down.

He was rushed to the hospital where he spent 2 months in intensive care as a new C-4 quadriplegic. He even needed assistance to help him breathe with a diaphragmatic pacer due to the severity of his spinal cord injury.

Ian’s Spinal Cord Injury Won’t Stop Him

ian with friendsDuring the many months of rehab and bed rest that followed, Ian had to relearn life from a new perspective in his motorized wheelchair.

“Since my injury, it’s a very different picture,” says Ian. He had to go from an active, independent lifestyle to depending on others, like the nurse who assists him during the day.

Still, he had to make a decision. It would have been easy to mourn everything he lost when he was injured on the wrestling mat. However, Ian wasn’t ready to give up on his life or his dreams.

“I cannot dwell on what I have lost or what I used to be, because that’s not healthy, and that is not the way I work,” says Ian.

Ian feels his track record of working hard and staying disciplined as an athlete has been a huge help. He makes sure to go to physical and occupational therapy for 4 hours a day after school, and since his injury, he has regained some core strength and the use of his arms.

During his senior year, his class unanimously elected him their Class President. On top of that, he decided to create a chess club at his school. He continued to work hard at keeping his grades up and became president of his school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club.

Life Is What You Make It

Ian’s original career goal has not changed, thanks in part to two physiatrists who encouraged him to keep pursuing his dream, despite his spinal cord injury.

I’ve always wanted to be able to help people, and medicine was always my goal. Now I’m hoping to help others just like me.

ian going to miami

Last fall, Ian made the first move toward his goal of becoming a doctor. He enrolled in a Neuroscience program at the University of Miami. This big move takes him a long way from his hometown, but Ian stays determined to keep his eye on the future.

“Life is what you make it,” Ian says, “and I plan on making mine the best it can be while hopefully helping a lot of people along the way.”

We’re all rooting for you, Ian!

About 180 Medical’s Scholarship Program

We’re now accepting applications for our 2019 180 Medical College Scholarship Program!

You can get the full scoop on eligibility requirements and download a scholarship application at

Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

Join the 180 Community

About the Author
Ian Chooses to Look Forward After His SCI
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she has been with the company for over 14 years now. She loves getting to be creative in her role and hearing from customers about the positive impact we've made on their lives.

Outside of work, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their dogs or browsing garden centers (where she will almost certainly buy another houseplant she doesn't really need).