BOISE — Nicholas Miller of the Boise Bombers wheelchair rugby team was left paralyzed from the chest down with minimal arm movement and no finger movement after an accident in 2015.
“It was crazy to be able to go from being able to move around and run around with my kids to not being able to go in my front yard to be able to go play catch with them," said Miller. "I was devastated.”
He is a C5 quadriplegic and is classified as a .5 level rugby player.
"He's considered a high-level injury and a lot of those guys get put in power chairs coming out of therapy out of their rehab or whatever, and then they never come out of it. They get stuck in it,” said Boise Bomber founder/captain Spencer Larimore.
The Boise Bombers helped him get out of his power chair and into a rugby chair, a sport that gave him back his dream of playing sports again.
“What got me excited about rugby was being able to smash into people with the wheelchairs, and that looked like a lot of fun, which is why I really enjoyed football. I get to get pads on and hit somebody,” said Miller.
Since joining the team, Miller has lost over 100 pounds and plans to lose more, but can't do so without his customized rugby chair.
The chair he uses now he is borrowing, and it's too big.
"There are posts in the back of the chair that dig into my back and so to avoid other potential injury or to be able to perform those custom made wheelchairs are an absolute necessity if you are going to play any kind of wheelchair sport more than one or two years especially if you want to progress into the Paralympics,” said Miller
“It’s important to really have a tight-fitting chair, so it moves with you instead of you sliding around while you’re getting hit," said Larimore.
Although Miller received a couple of grants, he can't afford to pay for his new chair.
“They are so darn expensive, and anybody who plays unless they have money that’s put away or their family has the money it’s definitely a boundary that we face in trying to get these chairs paid for and get on the court so we can do what we would like to do,” said Miller.
This will be his first rugby chair he gets to call his own, which would mean a lot to him.
“Just being able to play rugby...and being able to show my kids that hey just because something happens in life doesn’t mean you have to give up on what you want to do or doesn’t mean you can’t do it there are just different challenges that you have to overcome,” said Miller.
That is why he is asking for the communities help in a GoFundMe account created to raise money for the chair he can't afford.
To learn more or to donate, click here.