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Want to meet a winner? Get to know Garrett Bazany

Winners have focus.  They’re driven.  They have a plan, and no one is going to get in their way.

Garrett Bazany checks all those boxes.  He’s a man on a mission.  Two missions, actually…one for his career and one for his athletics.  “I’m going to help people recover from spinal injuries.  That’s my role,” he says emphatically.  Garrett is a Calvin College graduate who plans to become a physician’s assistant (PA), focusing in rehab.  He has been working at NOCHS since October of 2017, gaining experience as a phlebotomist before can apply for PA school.

Why this particular career path?  “I want to give back,” he says simply.  “Life is not over after an injury.  I needed to learn this lesson, and I had a lot of people who helped me.  It’s all about attitude.  If you can help someone change their attitude, you can help them recover.  So that’s what I’m going to do.”

But Garrett is not all work and no play.  He’s been downhill skiing since age three.  After his accident, he learned to use adaptive equipment and has become even more serious about his sport.  “I’m thinking about the Beijing Paralympics in 2022,” he says with a grin.  “I would have to do a lot of training, and a lot of racing, in order to qualify for the team.  But the coach says I have a shot.”

He also uses his sport to give back.  He recently received a grant from the National Ability Center in Salt Lake City to go to South Korea and teach people with disabilities how to ski.  A group of coaches and students left for Korea shortly before the Winter Olympic games.  “It was a cool opportunity,” Garrett says.  “There’s not much in the way of adaptive sports in South Korea.  We got to teach kids and adults about the potential of skiing this way, and also got to mentor them a bit.  We worked with about 40 students, and it was great to see their attitudes change.  One girl started out saying she hated the snow.  By the time we were done, she loved it.  That’s the kind of change I love to create.”

And since they were already there, why not take in the Olympics?  Garrett and the rest of the volunteers attended the Opening Ceremonies and a few events.  “It really helped me get a feel not only for their culture, but what it’s like to have a disability in a country like Korea,” he says.

Garrett’s motto is pretty simple.  “Get out of your comfort zone.  If I have the chance to try something new, I’m going to take it.  If I can learn more about how to thrive with a disability, I’m going to do it.”

We’re proud to say that Garrett is part of the NOCHS team.  His attitude, and his drive to give back to others, will make him a winner no matter what he tackles in life.  (And we hope to cheer him on in 2022!)

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