On March 26, 2011 Tom Wheeler had a crash while downhill racing on his mountain bike, catching a branch with his right hand, then super-manning over his handlebars into a tree, with the majority of impact on his right shoulder as he hit the tree. Bystanders cared for him until medics arrived, whom found that Tom was neurologically intact in three extremities, but had no movement of his right arm. Medics decided to evacuate Tom via helicopter to the medical center.
During surgical intervention he was diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury, which means that Tom had fully separated, irreparably, four of the five nerves leading to his arm. Subsequently, he had no sensation or movement of his right arm. In addition he was found to have a scapula (shoulder-blade) fracture and pulmonary contusions (bruising of the lung(s)).
As time went by, he began to reacquire a bit of sensation, but the majority of sensation was in the form of phantom pains. Tom began to ride bikes one-handed as soon as he could, and begin to dream solutions that would allow him to ride more fully.
Today, Tom is riding with a custom-built arm brace… riding well… and improving with every tweak to his gear and continued emotional and physical perseverance.
Check this latest video to see how he is doing: