Most readers are unlikely to recognize Kelly Brush-Davisson in this week's Sports Illustrated. The Vermonter hasn't reached the prominence attained by most of the star professional athletes with whom she shares the pages.
"It's very humbling for me to see, you know, me lined up with them. I feel like gee, I don't think I've done nearly as much as they've done," Brush-Davisson said.
In 2006, the then sophomore and Middlebury College downhill skier lost an edge. She struck a lift-tower and suffered a spinal cord injury which left her paralyzed below the waist. Since then she has dedicated her life to the safety of fellow on-snow athletes and helping those with similar injuries get back to the sports they love.
"The foundation has grown a ton since we founded it in 2006," Brush-Davisson said. "In the beginning we really were quite local."
The Kelly Brush Foundation raised more than a million dollars over the last six years. It helps ski areas purchase protective netting and shares the cost of equipment with permanently-injured athletes who want to get back in the game.
"Any sport that has an adaptive component we can support and that's really exciting," said the foundation's Executive Director, Betsy Cabera. She said the fresh publicity, by the prominent magazine, will provide a big-boost. "Hopefully it will be two-fold," she added.
She said more athletes will know where they can turn for support and she also expects a bump in new donors. Since forming the foundation Kelly won the women's hand-cycle division of the 2011 Boston Marathon, is back on the snow, and plays golf.
But her latest challenge is more mental than physical. "I'm in graduate school right now and I graduate in May," Brush-Davisson said.
The theme's the same though. Once she does, she'll begin helping patients as a nurse practitioner.
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