Humans of Westcoast SCI: Kenton
Everything went black. Vows rang throughout the air, non-alcoholic champagne toasted to the newly weds, camera flashes loud like wedding bells, and a disjointed groomsmen speech making its way through tangled synapses of Kenton’s newly concussed brain.
Kenton had been working on being able to do a backflip – a lifelong goal of the athletic social-entrepreneur. Working up from water to snow to sand to solid ground, the exhilaration of finally being able to do something he wasn’t able to do before was unlike anything else. He shared his newfound ability with his friends at a bachelor party, and they all decided to add a backflip-flair to his friend’s wedding. Fast forward to the dry wedding, on hardwood floors and with extra precaution, Kenton’s spotter helped the parkour enthusiast with a little bit too much force, causing Kenton to backflip-and-a-half straight onto his head. Everything went black, and Kenton’s world was flipped on its head.
40 minutes gone to oblivion, the prognosis from his wife (who was fortunately one of many healthcare professionals at the wedding) and doctors was a grim one. For weeks, Kenton’s life, while running meals around for his meal-prep business Gomae, was punctuated with sunglasses, earplugs, and a ringing concussion – until in what seemed like a miracle, he flipped to being almost symptom free in an unheard of amount of time.
“It was like day and night,” said an eager Kenton. “I’m super grateful to have a body that works now, not everything’s perfect but….it was a hard process of not having things that work.”
With the help of Physiotherapy, Kenton has been in full recovery, now able to go back to the things he loves, and isn’t letting his traumatic concussion stop him from getting back to doing backflips. But he emphasizes that, “even if I could never backflip again, never do anything athletic again, I think I would mourn, and I would try to let it go, and then I would maybe try to do something that I haven’t [done before].”
“I’m a very passionate person in general…. I like to dig into what [people] love, what they care about, and what they’re passionate about….[and] if you aren’t able to do that [thing] that you love and you’re passionate about, there’s probably something else that you do love and you didn’t have time for…I do think that everyone is definitely capable of [overcoming this kind of loss]”
It’s hard losing the ability to do something you love. Kenton “would give [you] a hug and say I’m sorry, because it’s hard. You don’t know what to say – it’s okay to not know what to say.” He’d try to bring some encouragement, “THERE IS HOPE. There is always hope, even if you don’t have it [yet].”
There is always hope when everything goes black – when you lose the ability to do the thing you love. Kenton emphasizes cultivating a support network, seeking out new passions, fighting against all odds, but mostly importantly, building your mindset and how you choose to move forward. He leaves us with these final words:
“Everything in life is going to make you bitter, or it’s going to make you better. And I think you have to make a choice with hard things in life. Recognize that every challenge is an opportunity.”
Humans of Westcoast SCI
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