Patrick Schmitt-ROLL Model
Patrick Schmitt was in a motorcycle accident on September 1, 2006. From that day on his life was changed forever. When he left his house that Friday morning, Patrick was a very active and energetic 22 year-old and he was living life to its fullest; playing softball five nights a week and riding his motorcycle every free chance he had with friends. Patrick returned home from the hospital 75 days later a C5-6 quadriplegic.
After being in a coma for 45 days, Patrick laid in the hospital for the next 30 days thinking his life was over. While lying there he thought about all the things that he was never going to be able to do again. He wasn't going to be able to travel anymore for work or pleasure, swinging a bat was going to be next to impossible, and what was he going to do when hunting season rolled around? This definitely was the hardest time of his life, throwing him a curveball that could not be hit — or so he thought.
It took Patrick some time, but he eventually realized, with the help of his amazing family and network of friends, his life was far from over. At first, going back to the baseball diamond was a challenge for him because he had spent so many summer nights playing on the fields with friends that just going back to hang out and watch, instead of play, was one of the hardest things to do.
One day Patrick’s aunt approached him and asked if he would be interested in coaching his cousin’s fast-pitch softball team. He initially turned it down thinking it would be too hard. Emotionally it would be tough, and coaching twelve girls ages 13 to 15 didn’t seem too appealing. Today, Patrick assists in coaching the team and has regained his passion for the sport. The transition from playing on a team, to coaching a team has been difficult for him, but he says it’s one the most rewarding experiences he has had since the 2006 accident.
The summer of 2010 proved to be a major milestone in Patrick’s life. Never one for the books, he made the decision to go back to college to pursue a degree in business management at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin. He chose this degree in hopes of one day being involved in a consulting business that would assist companies in modifying their existing establishments to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities. Since attending school again, and seeing things from a different point of view, Patrick is also working with the university to make accessibility improvements for people in all walks of life.
Although Patrick can no longer ride a motorcycle, he still remains connected to motorsports by keeping up with the latest trends, new products, and upcoming races. Not being able to ride a motorcycle has not sacrificed his passion for the sport. He often finds himself speaking to his friends and quoting his mother’s remarks, “Be safe, and wear your helmet!”
Another major interest of Patrick’s has always been hunting. The thought of never being in the woods, shooting a gun or a bow, or even sitting in a tree stand ate away at him day-after-day. It wasn’t until 2007, when he found out how much fun he could have hunting in a new way. Since then, he has shot three turkeys and three deer. Now nothing, not even a wheelchair can stop his pursuit of that trophy whitetail buck. Patrick has found that hunting is an escape from reality, where all life’s issues don’t exist. He says he doesn’t have a single worry, not a single problem while he is out in the woods.
Patrick is moving on with his life. Motorsports remain a major motivation in his recovery and he is determined that someday he will finish the ride he started that tragic September morning. For now he is determined to make things easier for people in all walks of life, while sharing knowledge and passion to the best of his ability. Going back to school, coaching the girl’s softball team, and finding peace in the woods, has given Patrick a new outlook on life as he continues to inspire and help others give it their all. ”You never know what tomorrow brings and I thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am today,” says Patrick. “And, a special thanks to my little ladies from softball for all the good times these past couple years. You don’t know how much you’ve inspired me. YOU CANT STOP ME. Life rolls on.”