On Feb 2, 2007, in a local rock climbing gym (Sportrock) outside Washington, DC, DJ Skelton, a severely injured Iraq war veteran and several rock climbers (Timmy O’Neill, Reid Olmstead, Ocean Eiler, Jason Chang, and Nelson Yang) conducted one of the first adaptive rock climbing clinics in the United States. Over 20 participants from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, representing a variety of limitations (blind, amputee, burned, scarred, paraplegic, muscular atrophy, etc), showed up that day.
A combination of expert climbers, medical professionals, local volunteers, and most important, a group of highly motivated self driven group of disabled people, all showed up for one purpose: to define life on their own terms and help each other accomplish a goal regardless of real or perceived limitations of the body and mind. It was on that day that the idea to build physical adaptive sport communities to facilitate and inspire post-traumatic growth was born.
Paradox Sports was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in July 2007. Since then, Paradox Sports has been a place to connect, push your limits, and change beliefs about what’s possible with a disability. Over the years Paradox Sports has change and grown but at the core, the unwavering dedication to living fully and in the moment has always remained.
In 2015, we kicked it up a notch to spread the word about the vertical lifestyle. We published the first ever adaptive climbing manual and ran 16 adaptive climbing trainings across North America to make gyms and other programs more accessible. We ran 11 of our infamous annual adaptive climbing trips across 9 states, and an adaptive climbing club that meets 3 times a month at gyms in the Front Range Colorado area. Our impact in the adaptive community reached over 450 people across 16 states and provinces in 2015 and we are continuing to push our limit.