Sam WilloughbyDONATE HERE
2020 was set up to be a big one for Alise and myself as it was an Olympic year. We started off our year in Australia, where we spent January and most of February at the first two stops of the 2020 World Cup BMX season in Shepperton, Australia. It was a great month in Australia, Alise and I stayed at my parent’s house, which is close to my local training spots I grew up training at. Alise was able to train at these spots in preparation for the World Cup. We traveled to Victoria every week for 4 weeks to prepare on the track where the race would be in February.
It was a very successful campaign with Alise dominating the first two World Cup rounds, winning both of them, which was impressive given that it was in Australia and our family was there to watch.
My other two athletes that I work with. My childhood friend Anthony Dean and Lauren Reynolds both did very well. Anthony winning almost all his laps and ended up 2nd in the main, and Lauren ran really well both days and came home with a 5th and a 7th.
Needless to say, we left our month long trip in Australia feeling very happy. A week after arriving back in the US, thanks to Alise’s partnership with Toyota, we attend the Daytona 500 and sit in the Toyota suit. It was an incredible experience as a huge Nascar fan; it doesn’t get any better than drinking Stillhouse Bourbon Old Fashions names the intimidator and watching the Daytona 500!!
Little did we know this event would be like the last supper of 2020 as it was only a couple of weeks later, the world came to a screaming halt with the emergence of COVID 19. Initially, when the world shut down, we were in limbo, as were many. We thought we would still race our World Championships in June and Olympics in July of 2020. Not too long went by before we realized 2020 would become a wrap as far as racing was concerned. It was a tough peel to swallow for Alise with her Olympic campaign started out so strong.
We took a couple of months of downtime and did some projects around the house we had neglected for years. We got into a great routine of taking our dog Mila on walks twice a day, and now she is more attached than ever and will hate us when we start traveling again. The scooter has been amazing to have as it has given us the ability to go on walks with the dog every day and carry my laptop and camera around at training with Alise.
Our other quarantine project was building a home gym, which if one good thing came from the lockdowns for me, it was that (getting a home gym) something I have always wanted and especially since my injury. I have also been sharpening up my coaching knowledge by doing some projects with some physiologists in the cycling world. The second quarantine project was to build an office where I could do all my programming and data collecting from training, and it seemed like a no-brainer to make it an office/whiskey room 😊 , so that’s what we did.
On the physical side for myself, I continue to train a minimum of 4-5 days a week. I focus mainly on strength training in the gym, where I have significantly improved my back strength and bench press, which I have got up to 265lbs. We also brought a ski erg that has been a great addition to get some cardio every day. As much as I love hand cycling, getting it packed up and going to Coronado, where there is an excellent safe path, is logistically not possible every day. The ski erg has been significant for my cardiovascular system; last year, I couldn’t get my heart rate above 110. I’m now continually pushing it above 180, which is fantastic. I generally do around 30 minutes on the erg, doing different intervals.
We are now somehow in November and next week heading to our first race since March, which will be held indoors in Tulsa, OK. To say we’re excited to be back racing is an understatement.
As always, thank you for the ongoing support!
Come out and show your support for Sam Willoughby Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Eagles Function Center, Australia.
Strength for 91 Private Function- Adelaide Crows v Port Adelaide
Tickets are $70 – Private function room with viewing deck for the game, finger food, and entertainment. Drinks to be purchased at the bar.
To buy tickets to this event, email your ticket request to- email@example.com or click the poster.
Please note any donations will be made in US Dollars.
Willoughby’s fiancé Alise Post has provided this update and was published in BMXaustralia.com.au Author: National Admin/Wednesday, January 25, 2017
“Sam left Denver Rehab Hospital on New Year’s Eve and arrived home in San Diego to a Welcome Home Party with friends and family to bring in the New Year. Since the accident, we have undertaken considerable construction at our home to ensure Sam’s recovery continues smoothly, with the final finishes to the lift and bathroom construction being made.
In great news, the home therapy room is getting close to finished, and we have most of the equipment necessary now including the FES Bike, Standing Frame, Total Gym, Electric Mat Table along with various bands, med balls, dumbbells, and hand therapy equipment.
We would like to take the time to thank everyone who has supported through Sam’s Road 2 Recovery Fund, as these modifications around our home have been made largely thanks to the combined effort between the insurance and the fund donations. These changes to our house enabled Sam to begin therapy straight away on January 2 and he really enjoys working with his therapist at home in a one on one personalized setting.
Sam continues to see small gains in sensation and function, which leaves him encouraged to keep working in this setting for as long as needed and striving for more and every therapy session. He continues to show daily motivation to get better and work his hardest, leaving no stones unturned. He repeatedly needs to be told how important rest is too! Over the course of the month, Sam has been busy sourcing out his personal San Diego team of service providers for different therapy and recovery techniques and he is happy with that progress.
Since the month has progressed, being home with friends visiting and his dog Mila has been very therapeutic for Sam. He is also looking forward to seeing his brother again soon and meeting his nephew for the first time in the coming weeks!
On behalf of Sam and all his family and friends, we would like to thank everyone for the continued support. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received, as we understand not everyone may have the same amazing backing in times like this”.
To follow along and show your support of Sam’s Road 2 Recovery, make sure to search and tag the hashtag #strengthfor91
December 1, 2016, Sam Willoughby Update
After 70 days of eating, sleeping, breathing rehabilitation here at Craig, our official inpatient stay is coming to a close! This means that Sam is considered medically stable enough for him, his mum and I to move out of this hospital room and transition towards home life by moving into the outpatient program here in Denver. We plan to stay here for December and have a jam-packed “work schedule” utilizing the world-class facilities available to us here at Craig. This seems to be the perfect transition allowing us to stay close to the hospital while living on our own without the haunting “quick set of vitals” phrase!!! It will also allow time to get all of his equipment and our home more prepared for home therapy and everyday life…this has been a continual process behind the scenes to get organized. Sam and all of us are really looking forward to the freedom to use all of the crazy technologies and work with many motivated therapists through the PEAK center here before transitioning to that next step home. As successful as his inpatient stay has been, the opportunity to direct his own care and focus more on his personal goals is what Sam is ready for!
Throughout the past month, Sam has managed to stay fit and even put a bit of muscle back on. A big part of this in his legs would have to be the increased amount of stimulation through the FES bike (video is shown), pool workouts, and more time upright in harnesses on the Erigo (boxing machine in an earlier post) and vibration plate. We’re hoping that all of this stimulation work will aid in his bodies’ “message sending” process. Some other exciting news is how stable Sam has gotten at getting on all fours and balancing. He is even able to use a swiss ball with some spotting to get on his knees which is pretty cool. All of the work on his tummy, posture and balance is definitely indicating a bit better core activation which is super exciting this early on in the game for someone with an injury like Sam’s. His hands continue to improve in function, he increases his weights or reps almost daily with his dumbbell, cable, and med ball work which means his grip and upper body are only getting stronger! We are all super proud of Sam and can’t wait to continue this journey with him.
We need to extend a huge thank you to his entire inpatient team here at Craig as they have taken our ideas on board and done their best to accommodate Sam’s goals amidst ticking all of the boxes to get him “medically functional” to get out of the hospital. We had our discharge meeting yesterday and every single one of the team members said they had never worked with a more motivated individual that forced them to use all of their resources and push the limits for not only Sam but all of the future patients that come through Craig Hospital. Thank you to everyone who has helped keep Sam’s spirits up so that motivation never lagged, every positive energy sent our way has played a role and will continue to help him as he turns the page to the next chapter in his road to recovery. Having just gone to Tulsa, OK over Thanksgiving for our year-end finale of the USA BMX series, I’ve experienced first hand how strong and genuine the support for Sam truly is, and we can’t thank you enough for that. I know I fed on all of those good vibes myself and was somewhat surprised with a great performance in Tulsa winning both days of racing and taking my 5th women’s pro championship title, and 9th overall prestigious USA BMX silver cup. None of those feats compared to the feeling of accepting Sam’s “Pro of the Year” award amidst the loudest cheers of the weekend though, so thanks for letting him hear you all the way in Denver! We even got a few visits from our closest friends on their drive back west which is much appreciated and we thank them for taking the time to stop by 🙂 Replay of the race and awards for anyone interested in watching can be found at >> https://youtu.be/6gxOpM25Q5E ).
Wishing everyone a happy holiday season!
UPDATE: 11/10/16 “Double Down for Sam Willoughby Challenge” Reached in Record Time
The BMX community came out in force to support Sam Willoughby and complete “The Double Down for Sam Challenge” in record-breaking time. With your support Road 2 Recovery was able to reach not only the needed goal of $93,240 to get the $30,000 match from an anonymous donor but was able to surpass that goal to reach a grand total of $158,201.62 for Sam Willoughby’s Fund.
This momentous achievement was made possible by the dedicated and generous people in the BMX community from the following:
The SW91 Challenge held at both Bellflower BMX Track and Chula Vista BMX.
Events held at Pineview Park BMX, Dacono BMX, and Bolder BMX.
Auction items won from the Sam Willoughby benefit eBay auction.
Donations online at www.strengthfor91.com
Together you helped Sam reach this goal.
Road 2 Recovery would like to thank the team at Chula Vista BMX, Bellflower BMX Track, Pineview Park BMX, and Bolder BMX for putting together these events. Your time, effort, and energy is greatly appreciated. Huge thank you to Struplast Holdings, Redline Bicycles, Oakley, TLD, Pat Wilson from Weezer, Brett Metcalfe, Alise Post, Brett Eldredge, Malcolm Smith, Anthony Dean, Brian Lopes, Robert Pierce, Melissa Marquardt, Maris Strombergs, Anthony Dean, Barry Nobles, Brooke Crain, Ryan Dungey, Shane McElrath, Connor Fields, Cole Seely, James Stewart, Broc Tickle, Joris Daudet, Randy Stumpfhauser, Ricky Carmichael, Justin Bogle, Johnny Walker, Nick Wey, Lauren Reynolds, Billy Griggs, Nic Long, Marvin Musquin, Kris Fox, Tyler Faro, Michael Leib, Nate Adams, and all the other companies and athletes who donated items, their time, or funds to Sam’s cause. Last but certainly not least, Thank You to the anonymous donor whose donation helped pull together the BMX community to match your generosity and show Sam Willoughby just how much they all are supporting him.
This is just the beginning for Sam Willoughby and his cause with R2R. If you would like to donate to Sam’s Road 2 Recovery you can by clicking this link StrengthFor91.com or going to R2R website at www.road2recovery.com
UPDATE: 11/01/16- Double Down for Sam Willoughby
Sam Willoughby, an Australian Olympic BMX rider was in a freak accident on September 10th, 2016 while training at the local San Diego BMX track. He suffered a spinal cord injury around his C5 – C7 vertebrae. Sam being the fighter that he is with a spirit of a true champion has been doing aggressive rehabilitation therapy in Colorado with his fiancé, family, friends, and fans cheering him on.
When an injury of this magnitude occurs there is a point where insurance runs out of financial support. Insurance rehab typically consists only of getting the injured to a point where they are able to sustain the injury and live under their “new condition”. Sam’s goals are far beyond that; the therapy that will challenge him to stand and walk again will cost a great deal of money and far exceed what the insurance companies are willing to cover.
Now you can help more than ever before! Thanks to a sponsor who has requested to remain anonymous, starting Tuesday, November 1, 2016, every dollar you donate at www.strengthfor91.com will be matched up to $30,000! That means for every dollar you choose to donate, you will double down with the matched donation! Having just surpassed the $60k mark in Sam’s Road 2 Recovery account, there is an opportunity to DOUBLE the total funds raised and raise another $60,000. These vital funds will be put towards his rehabilitation therapy, home modifications, therapy equipment like FES bikes, stem machines, standing frames and so much more.
Today’s tally of funds raised for Sam’s cause is $63,240. You can keep an eye on the running total raised on his cause page and when the total goes past $93,240, the donated matched money of $30,000 will be deposited, bringing his new total to $123,240! Remind Sam to Stay Strong by helping complete this Double Down Challenge by December!
Today marks 5 weeks since arriving at Craig Hospital in Colorado for Sam’s intense, specific SCI rehabilitation. We hope everyone enjoyed Sam’s feature on 60 Minutes Australia and gained a bit more insight as to the challenges Sam faces on his road to recovery. We also hope that everyone can see his strong character shine through, and how important the support around him throughout this journey has been, and will continue to be. I know for myself, getting to go home for a quick two days and go to the race in CA really exposed me to the outside world again, and the words of encouragement and overall support for us was just incredible and almost overwhelming…so, THANK YOU!!
As for Sam, he continues to work hard and push the boundaries. He is doing really well with all of his functional skills and becoming more and more independent every day. He is regaining a lot of upper body strength, better core balance, and a bit more sensation to touch throughout his lower body which is really encouraging for those of us here watching him put the work in each and every day. He is actually moving along quickly enough that he is challenging his therapists and the system so much so that they are allowing him to do extra above and beyond work as an inpatient. These extra “lower body recruitment” sessions are what he really looks forward to during the week, and it’s awesome to see the same excitement from the therapists that get to work with such a motivated patient. He even got to let a bit of frustration out on the boxing gloves during therapy which was fun! (And I don’t think he minded getting the okay to have that boxing match with his fiancé 😉
We can’t predict the future, but Sam is doing incredible things and has the true heart of a champion, so we know he will do well. Of course, there are times that this process feels like an eternity, but he is keeping his chin up and we are all reminded to keep focused on the process of small gains day by day as we start looking towards the next steps of this journey.
We are saddened to hear of so many people in our network going through similar situations. This is not an injury we wish on anyone, and we just hope that everyone can keep all of these warriors in their thoughts and send as much positive energy their way as possible. It’s inspiring to witness first hand what people go through to do everyday things that healthy people take for granted daily… I know who got my vote for the Cycling Australia ‘People’s Choice’ Award and the USA BMX Golden Crank ‘Pro of the Year’!!! #StrengthFor91
The days have been getting busier and busier here at rehab for Sam! He is now finishing up two solid weeks of rehab and is doing great. All the staff love him here because as you can imagine his work ethic, motivation and intensity have made quite an impression on those around him. I can honestly say he’s probably working harder than she ever has before, which is pretty impressive as we all know how intense he already was with his day to day training!
From dawn to dusk he’s filled with individual and group therapy sessions that are helping him become more and more functional both using what he already has and working towards gaining things back. Balance and mobility have been a big focus thus far and Sam is picking up on everything quickly. Some highlights from his therapy thus far include meeting a 3x Paralympic Rugby medalist who shared his story with a group of young men like Sam…it’s amazing how many Paralympic athletes we are always surrounded and inspired by at the Olympic Training Center, but now we can gain even that much more respect for the path they’ve had to endure to get where they are…they are truly incredibly strong people with great life lessons to share.
Another highlight would be using the FES bike to help stimulate his legs in motion and “feeling” so familiar to him. Some other highlights include getting in the pool for the first time and getting stood up in a special standing frame they use to reacclimatize people to an upright position. The visits and presence of our good friend and TM Jason Carnes definitely helped in this situation as Jason always has plenty of stories and laughs to share that keep spirits up and actually physically kept Sam’s blood pressure levels in check as they stood him up…thanks Jase! He was also a great therapy buddy for Sam during his upper body strength class as anyone who knows him can imagine… 😉 So yes, on top of all of the physical stimulation, the support of friends, family, and fans from around the world have played an incredible role in the healing process and keeping Sam’s spirits up – THANK YOU to everyone who has sent positive energy and kind messages our way. Keep spreading the love and stay tuned for more updates!
UPDATE: 9/26/16 FROM ALISE POST & SAM WILLOUGHBY
The Willoughby entourage had an eventful weekend! Whilst Sam was being transported, the fam made the trek by car and had the pleasure of making a stop off in Vegas for a few hours during Interbike to accept the 2016 NORA Cup for #1 Racer on behalf of Sam. Thank you to everyone who voted and continues to support Sam as a champion on his bike and as a champion in life. It was such a pleasure to surprise him with yet another award to add to his collection, with this specific one showing how much respect and support he has from his peers within the sport. As he is now faced with his most challenging race, I know this small token served as a great reminder to him as to who he is and what he is capable of with the people around him.
Sam Willoughby is a game-changer in the world of BMX racing. Since bursting onto the scene winning back to back Junior Elite World Titles in 2008 and 2009, Sam has won just about every title imaginable. Alongside his unmatched pro winning streak in USA BMX history, he has won 3 overall USA BMX National #1 Pro titles, multiple Elite Men World Titles, multiple Australian National Titles and is a 2x Olympian with a Silver Medal performance during the 2012 London Olympic Games and a strong quest for Gold in the Olympic final of the 2016 Rio Games just a few short weeks ago.
He followed his recent Olympic effort up with a trip back to his hometown of Adelaide, Australia to take part in an initiative that targets teens in local communities across Australia to get active on bikes. Sam is nearing the 10,000th bike donated to kids that take part in the program.
On Sept 10, 2016, Sam had a training accident on the local Chula Vista BMX track where he was airlifted to the hospital and operated on that evening due to sustaining fractures in his C6 and C7 vertebrae which severely compressed his spinal cord and left him with no movement below his chest. The operation involved removing his C6 vertebrae, replacing it with a titanium cage, and fusing his C5-C7 vertebrae with a plate and 4 screws. Fortunately, this surgery was successful enough at decompressing his spinal cord and aligning his vertebrae that no second operation for further stabilization was necessary.
However, trauma to the spinal cord to this extent is not an overnight recovery and leaves us with an extremely unknown prognosis. At this stage, Sam has regained use of his arms and is slowly regaining sensations in his legs, but still has no movement from his chest down. Though it has felt like an eternity, this relatively quick response from his body leaves family, doctors, and specialists with high hopes for Sam’s future.
Sam’s next step is to be transported to CO to begin a long road to recovery with SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) specialists at a rehabilitation center there. Whether Sam inspires you by his dedication to excellence on his bike, or by his efforts to give back to others off the bike, it’s our turn to support Sam. Road2recovery.com is a portal where Sam’s friends, family, and fans can stay up to date and offer financial support to Sam to ensure #strengthfor91 remains strong throughout his road to recovery.