GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Joe Pomeroy damaged the nerves in his spine after a motorcycle race accident 10 years ago. 

“I had an engine failure while on the track. The engine locked up on me and sent me off the track and unfortunately ended in a bad situation where I went into trees and broke a total of 27 bones,” said Pomeroy. 

Pomeroy said it took him three years to get his health under control after he broke that many bones. 

He eventually fell in love with hand-cycling, an adaptive sport that only requires upper body strength.

Pomeroy has attended multiple National Handcycling Championships across the United States and became a national champion.  

“Adaptive sports allow those with disabilities to enjoy exercise similar to how they would before becoming injured,” said Melissa Ritter, South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) director of head and spinal cord injury. 

According to DDSN, spinal cord injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability. DDSN has resources available for those recently injured.

“We serve those with spinal cord injuries by connecting them with case management providers who can assist them with navigating resources that are available to them in the state. We also operate a Medicaid home and community-based waiver assists by providing individuals with spinal cord injuries who qualify with services that support them at home,” said Ritter. 

Pomeroy enjoys hand-cycling and doesn’t let his disability stop him from living life. 

“I can literally say that hand cycling, the first time I rode I forgot about my paralysis. I forgot about my nerve pain. I have nerve pain 24/7 and when I was on the bike I kind of forgot about all of that, it all melted away,” said Pomeroy. “Adaptive sports, hand cycling specifically, just made a huge impact in my life. Life is what you make of it and how you respond to challenges in life is what is more important.”

Pomeroy cycles 30 to 50 miles at a time, five days a week and, on average, 7,000 miles per year.