We oftentimes overlook how precious life is. Our routines, regimens, and even our interactions with those around us can change at a second’s notice. Brian Muscarella, who graduated from the Villanova Business School in 1980, had that life-changing event happen to him at the age of 53. Two and a half years ago, Brian suffered a rare spinal stroke that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Losing the function of your legs can be a very big blow to ones moral, especially since before the stroke, Brian ran marathons; snow skied, golfed, and frequented the gym. What do you do now?
Brian endured. He faced months of grueling physical therapy and began to adapt to a new life of living in a wheelchair. His go-to sport was handcycling and his outlet became his passion. His team would regularly train throughout the week and head out on 25mi rides. Imagine a 25mi bike ride, using only your hands! Team Freak would travel throughout the Southeast participating in US Handcycling Federation races and it ignited a new fire within Brian. Handcycling provides him with a sense of serenity, one of the few times he no longer feels disabled. It is just him pushing down the road. Brian’s racing this summer in the US Handcycling Federation series gave him the opportunity to place in enough races to be ranked second nationally in the H1 (Tetraplegia) category! We would like to recognize Brian as our second Featured Athlete of November for the Villanova Cycling Team. Keep on pushing Brian! You have the Nova Nation family supporting you every step of the way!
Read more about Brian’s story below and check out the documentary about Team Freak!
“I never really cycled before my injury. I ran marathons, snow skied, golfed and went to the gym. Two and half years ago a rare spinal stroke forever changed the way I participated in sport activities. The stroke rendered me paralyzed from the chest down. After months of grueling physical therapy, I started to adapt at the age of 53 to a new life of living in a wheelchair. Through the Carolinas Rehabilitation Center I was introduced to the Adaptive Sports and Adventure Program (ASAP). ASAP provides the training and adaptive equipment to allow disabled individuals participate in sports and activities that otherwise would be physically impossible. I participate in quad rugby, skiing and handcycling. These activities provide mentoring and camaraderie that breeds self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment and pride. I have taken to handcycling and discovered a new passion for the sport! We have a team that trains throughout the week and regularly does 25m rides. That’s with your hands! We travel throughout the Southeast participating in US Handcycling Federation races that include time trials, criteriums and road races up to 28m. It is an incredible feeling to be able to compete in these races! I am in better shape both physically and mentally as a direct result of these programs. When I am in the “grove”, it becomes quiet and eerily calm. It is one of the few times I no long feel disabled….just me pushing down the road. Go Cats! Ignite Change! \V/ “