Overcoming challenges that life sends our way
Sometime in 2000, I saw a new sport called kiteboarding. I was so drawn to it!
A few months later, I bought gear and taught myself to ride. After I could ride on the water, I found out that there was a certification process to become an instructor. I signed up and went to California for the training. My instructor was Paul Menta, who is considered a “guru” of kiteboarding. I picked his brain to learn how to turn this into a profitable business. Paul was a lot like me: an entrepreneur and water sport enthusiast.
I immediately got started and opened the first kiteboarding school in Utah.
Late in 2003, a call came from a company in Jamaica asking for me to come and teach lessons. I could not believe that this was happening to me. I was getting paid to be in Jamaica and do what I loved!
In 2004, I returned to Utah. I was living a lifestyle I had always dreamed of, making a living doing something I truly loved to do.
On Cinco De Mayo 2004, I went kiteboarding with friends. We went to Utah Lake’s “South Bay” to catch rides. That day, a weather anomaly was in store: a microburst.
The microburst was clocked at 54 miles per hour. The wind that day had been in the 20 to 30 miles per hour range. The kite lofted me 20 feet into the air and then I came back down. My friend Ryan jumped on my back to stop me from being lifted again. The wind picked us both up 10 feet. Upon impact, Ryan fell off my back. The kite then lofted me back into the air and looped under me, spearing me into the ground. The kite was now dragging me unconsciously across the beach. Ryan quickly grasped hold of the control bar and freed me from the harness loop, saving my life. Emergency number 911 was called and Life Flight dispatched.
At the hospital, my parents were told I had 72 hours to live. I was in a coma. All they could do was pray and wait.
Then, 10 days into the coma, I came back.
I remember waking up and looking at the room and thinking, “I’m not in my bed.” My parents told me I had suffered a traumatic brain injury. The brain specialists and doctors expected that I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life and be a vegetable. In my head, I thought, “Whatever ... no way!”
I was now in rehabilitation and was going through physical, occupational and speech therapy. It was at rehab that I met a physical therapist named Shane Rosenberg. Shane helped me to start walking again and, more importantly, always believed in me when I said I would make it back to a full, functional life.
I wanted my life back and I was going to do it!
The first step to recovery I wanted to accomplish was walking without assistance. When I left the hospital, I could only walk a few feet unaided.
Now it was all up to me and I must do it! Then began the life recovery process.
To read the recovery story, grab the next issue of ServeDaily. To have Darren Sayers speak live for your event or group, send an email to email@example.com.
Physical therapist Shane Rosenberg walks with Springville resident Darren Sayers, who experienced a traumatic injury while kiteboarding on Utah Lake.