More on how this all started with Dale Stetina's incident
Dale Stetina, a 57-year-old professional
cyclist, is a former Olympic athlete and inductee in the U.S. Bicycling Hall
But, his cycling routine changed after a horrific accident during a training
ride in Boulder, Colo. The driver of an SUV crossed the center lane of a
two-lane canyon road causing Stetina to lose control of his bicycle, propel
over the handlebars and slam onto the road. Despite wearing a helmet, he
suffered brain damage along with severe face and eye injuries.
After a stint at a Denver hospital, Stetina came to Omaha’s QLI, a
nationally recognized center for brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
Part of his individualized treatment program including getting Stetina on a
With a training device donated by friend and three-time Tour de France
winner Greg LeMond, Stetina worked daily in intensive circuits as part of his
therapy routine. But, QLI staff wanted Stetina to experience more.
“We wanted it to involve bicycling for real. Outside. To unearth that
passion again,” said Edward Armstrong, QLI’s Adaptive Sports Specialist.
The QLI team coordinated with Stetina’s family to design the ideal
situation – a three-wheeled tandem.
“That day was just fantastic. It was 60 degrees out and there we were, Ed
and I, riding. It was a huge emotional boost for me, because until then I
figured I’d hit a ceiling in my recovery. I thought that ceiling was going
to limit me,” said Stetina.
“Thing is, he’s still the same guy,” Armstrong said. “Cycling –
that’s his identity. A person who suffers a brain injury deals with so much
loss, but Dale’s been able to reconnect with his instinctual pathway.
We’ll provide the right supports and structure, even after he leaves QLI
and he can return to that world, that lifestyle, with a lot of success.”
“Getting hurt in that crash saved me in a way. I’m very thankful for
having a second chance. I feel wonderful to have it,” Stetina said.