NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 SPORTS) – When you watch U.S. Marine Corporal Jacob Schick, 31, work his way around the gym, you can’t help but wonder “what’s my excuse?”
“I never really went through the whole ‘why me thing?’” he said. “I’m not into that self-pity stuff.”READ MORE: Texas Democrats In Congress Say It's 'Unacceptable' Gov. Abbott Hasn't Released Billions In Stimulus For Public Education
His attitude is evident when you see the intensity in Schick’s training. A former Coppell High School football captain, Schick chose the military over a college playing career. It’s a decision he doesn’t regret but one that altered his life.
“I had a bad day at the office in Iraq in 2004,” said Schick.
Schick has a sense of humor about it, but the injuries were no laughing matter. The vehicle he was riding in hit a triple stacked mine. He said the impact blew him through the top of the Humvee.
“I landed on my head. I never lost consciousness. I never went into shock. I remember everything which I believe is because God is a comedian,” Schick said smiling.
He saw his right leg amputated below the knee. With the help of 46 operations and 23 blood transfusions, he managed to salvage his left leg, arm and hand. He said he is making the most out of the cards dealt to him and so is his trainer.
If you remember the 2008 NFL draft, you might remember him… his name was David Vobora.
“Mr. Irrelevant, 2008,” remindeed Vobora.
Vobora was the 252nd pick that year and went to the St. Louis Rams. In an unlikely outcome, he won a starting job as the team’s linebacker the following year. He decided to hang up the cleats in 2011 and did a little soul searching. What he found was that he enjoyed training others to be their best.
“For me, it’s about making them feel comfortable like anybody else. I want them to walk into a gym and have a workout no matter how many arms, legs or restrictions they have,” he said. “At Performance Vault, we’re going to find a way to adapt and modify training for those with physical impairments.”READ MORE: Health Officials Urge Safety Measures Against West Nile Virus In North Texas
So that is Vobora’s passion now, along with Schick, there are others training at Performance Vault in Dallas.
Marine Brian Aft said he was also injured in the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict. He met Vobora in a Starbucks parking lot. Vobora noticed he didn’t have two legs and simply asked why — then he offered him free training in his gym.
After just a few sessions, he said he can do push-ups and weighted walks with two arms. He said Vobora pushes him to a place right outside of his comfort zone but a place safe enough he won’t risk injury.
Now, Vobora is looking to grow the program. Right now, training for wounded warriors is supported by sponsors and donations from a free Saturday group class that is open to anyone in the community.
Vobora said he is also working with the Cooper Clinic to develop the first-ever adaptive physical training certification for other trainers.
Aft and Schick may no longer be overseas fighting for their country but they are now fighting for a better quality of life. It just so happens the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant” is helping them with this one.
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