In November 1990, Mike Savicki's life was forever changed. While training to become a U.S. Navy F-14 fighter pilot, Savicki suffered a severe spinal cord injury after diving into the waters off Florida's Pensacola Beach. Everything changed in an instant, but after seven months of rehabilitation, he was ready to take on life again—with help from the proper equipment.

“If you look at my day as a quadriplegic, I wouldn't be able to get through it all without assistive technology. The technologies, tools and gadgets I use in everyday activities like bathing, dressing, cooking, writing, typing, driving and exercising—to those I use in the bigger routine that come with being a dad—are always there.”

Taking charge

“One of the best things that ever happened to me was getting my driver's license again,” Savicki, 47, explains. “I had to learn how to drive with hand controls and learn about getting in and out of a car, driving a full-sized van with a lift and swivel seat. For me, getting back on the road behind the wheel almost saved my life.”

"The world is full of new places to go and things to discover, so who knows where my path may lead.”"

Interacting with three-year-old daughter Caroline is one of Savicki's other chief accomplishments.

“She knows her daddy does things differently because he is different. She understands, and has even learned to use some of the smaller household devices and gadgets that help me in the kitchen, garage, yard and my workshop.”

Moving forward

Savicki, a triathlete and 18-time finisher of the Boston Marathon, says assistive technology will also aid in his future athletic endeavors.

“There are sports, like golf, kayaking and sailing, that can become a part of not only my life, but also my wife Sarah's and our daughter’s, too. The world is full of new places to go and things to discover, so who knows where my path may lead.”