My SCI Story
  Click here for My SCI Story Video  

My name is John J2 Mryczko and I am a disabled action sports athlete, designer, promoter, and motivational speaker living with a spinal cord injury. I have not been disabled all my life, but my life completely changed on June 3rd of 1999 at the age of 19 when I was involved in a high speed motorcycle accident. During the impact, I broke my C5 neck bone which damaged my spinal cord and has left me paralyzed from the chest down.

I spent 4 weeks incubated with air and feeding tubes down my throat due to a collapsed lung and pneumonia that invaded my body. After 4 weeks of lying in bed and not being able to eat or drink I was ready for someone to pull the plug. Finally on week 5 the tubes where removed and my life adventure with a spinal cord injury began.


I was sent to The Rehab Institute of Chicago where the hardest training of my life began.
After spending 5 weeks in bed and not being active with the arms I still had control of, my muscles disappeared and the strength I once had vanished as well. Upon my arrival to the Rehab Center, I was unable to perform a task as simple as touching my hand to my nose. After weeks of therapy and training I was once again able to do small movements with my body such as put my hand on top of my head! The months I spent at RIC taught me many things about living with a spinal cord injury. I learned about different devices that can be used to hold utensils for eating, brushing my teeth, shaving, and even about how to maintain a sex-life having a spinal cord injury. The everyday techniques I once performed naturally were being adjusted to my injury. The Rehab Institute of Chicago taught me the things people with SCI’s must be aware of in order to live a healthy, happy life.

After 3 months of living at The Rehab Institute in downtown Chicago I was discharged to go home. As much as I wanted to go, I never realized how “real” things in my life were about to get. At the rehab center there were always people around, activities to keep me busy, and accessibility everywhere. When I got home, none of those things existed and I slowly fell into a sad state realizing my life in a wheelchair would not be easy.


After a few weeks of depression and wondering how my life would go on, I decided to stop thinking and start living. I was never one to turn down a challenge and I was not going to start now. I continued to workout and live life from my chair. I enrolled back into school one year after my injury and perused art which was one skill I still possessed and was able to do. I started making the effort of putting myself in social settings. I was not going to let my spinal cord injury or my wheelchair keep me from a good party, fun bar, or jumping night club. Two and a half years after starting school, I received a degree in webpage and graphic design.

Before my accident I was involved in action sports for over10 years. Being involved in BMX, skateboarding, and snowboarding since the age of nine my life never had a dull moment. After my injury life seemed to stand still, I was no longer able to participate in the sports I loved and have been apart of for more than half my life.  As time went on, I soon came to realize that I wanted to utilize my wheelchair to the best of my ability and beyond. Taking trips or rolls as I call them from location to location became a norm. After a 3 hour roll to my cousin’s house in 2001 I decided that in 2002 I would roll to Lake Geneva Wisconsin which was 80 miles from my hometown. In the summer of 2002 I completed that 80 mile adventure in 3 days; a total of 17 hours to complete.

In the fall of 2002 I decided to take my wheelchair to the next level, airborne. I had been jumping off curbs since leaving rehab, but never thought to put a ramp into the equation. I decided to call a few buddies of mine and with their help we constructed a ramp fit to my satisfaction. I set myself up for the launch and took off.

Going top speed, my chair reached the ramp and in seconds, I was in the air. What was only a few seconds felt like minutes; minutes of freedom. My chair came crashing down to a forceful flat landing. Not yet finished, I jumped my chair a few more times before it needed a break.

That day I realized that maybe I can create a new sport using power wheelchairs. I hopped onto the internet to see if there was something similar to my idea already existing, but I never ended up coming across anything that used power wheel chairing as an action sport. As exciting as some of the other wheelchair sports sounded, they could not be performed by someone with a high-level injury or limited mobility.

During my research, I also did not find a single website which promoted these different adaptive action sports, so being a promoter myself; I decided to create one of my own. In spring of 2003 I launched ExtremeChairing.com, a website that promotes and has information on
different adaptive action sports from all around the world. The website was also used to promote my idea of Power Wheelchair Racing. It has been 4 years since my wheelchair racing idea had surfaced and it is finally catching on, gaining interest from people all over the world. My goal is to someday have custom built power wheelchairs with great handling, speed, and mobility that could be raced in a professional organization. I feel that time is near.

When I am not working on promoting adaptive action sports, I teach and inform people about spinal cord injuries. I also use the skills I was taught in school and run my own web page and graphic design business. When I am not working I love to play. I love going out to sporting events, hip-hop/rock shows, bars and clubs, and I am always looking for somewhere to travel. I also started driving again, four years after my injury, and enjoy being involved in the custom car scene with my modified custom mini van.

What the future holds I have no idea, but I have many goals to accomplish while I am still around. One of those goals is creating a hand controlled dune buggy that will be used for racing and launching. I am also looking for supporters to help me build a chair I have designed that will be specifically used for racing, jumping, and rollathons.

There must be a reason why my greatest fear in life of being paralyzed happened, maybe I will change something in this world, or at least do good in a few peoples lives. Whatever ends up coming along the way, I know that life rolls on so I let the good times roll!