​Finding A Hobby Post Injury

Posted by Zack Collie in Life After Paralysis on September 14, 2020 # Lifestyle

By guest blogger Zack Collie

Growing up, I never really stuck with just one hobby. I was a very active child and always going from one thing to the next. I enjoyed riding my bike, skateboarding, surfing, riding dirt bikes, hangout out with friends, and playing video games. As a kid, I tried karate, basketball, boxing, and wresting. I didn’t stick to any of those sports. It is safe to say that I enjoyed doing many activities but could not stay committed to any of them.Zack racing his RC car on baseball field

After breaking my neck and becoming a c4 incomplete quadriplegic, pretty much everything I enjoyed doing was taken away from me in a second. I could no longer play any of the physical activities I enjoyed doing and lost the function in my hands and fingers. I could no longer play video games. Thankfully, because of the advances in technology and touch screens, I found new ways to play video games after my accident. However, it was not the same. I was nowhere near as good as I used to be, and some of the old games I enjoyed playing (League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Dota, Counter-Strike, and Halo) I couldn’t play anymore because the controls were to complex. It was very frustrating for me because I knew how good I was but couldn’t get back to how I was before.

Since COVID hit and being forced to stay inside and be quarantined caused me to realize I haven’t had a hobby that I enjoy doing since my accident ten years ago! The boredom of being stuck inside for so long made me do a lot of thinking. I am a part of a few Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Facebook groups. I posted in the group asking what some hobbies that quads do are. I got good feedback and one of them that stood out to me that a lot of quads were into Remote Control (RC) cars. At first, when I think of RC cars, I think about kid ones, but I had no idea that there were ones for adults that can go anywhere from 40-85 mph! I looked up the RC brand Traxxas and did some research before I went to my local hobby shop to pick one up.

The biggest downside to having RC as a hobby is the price. These types of RC cars are not cheap. They go really fast and can break if you crash them too hard. Luckily, the pieces to replace the broken parts usually aren’t too expensive. The most expensive part is the first time you buy it. The cars don’t come with a battery or charger. You have to purchase those separately. Aside from the price, the Traxxas RC cars are SO much fun! There is no better feeling for me than driving it fast over the dirt, rooster tailing and kicking up a dust cloud. Driving like that brings me back to when I used to go to the desert and ride dirt bikes.Zack holding his RC cars

For my first one, I got a car called the Rustler 4x4 VXL and then upgraded to the top RC car called the Xmaxx. Every time I go out and drive my car, it puts a smile on my face. It also gives me a reason to go outside for a little and get some fresh air. What I love about this hobby is that even with limited hand function, it is something I can do on my own. I am always looking for things I can do as independently as possible. I really enjoy doing this hobby as a quadriplegic and encourage anyone out there reading this to give it a try if you can afford it.

Zack Collie is living with quadriplegia and was paralyzed in 2010 diving under a wave at Newport Beach breaking his C-4 vertebrae. Zack started a YouTube channel to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries and his life living as one. His mother, Amber Collie, is also a regular blogger for the Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.