Disability Advocates for Sherrod: Meet Adam

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Disability Advocates for Sherrod: Meet Adam

Adam has dealt with mental health issues for nearly his entire life. Diagnosed with depression in 6th grade, Adam went on to attend Ohio State, where he eventually began self-medicating as an escape. A talented water skier who was building up the Ohio State team, Adam had just won a state slalom championship when things began to spiral out of control. After he began to experience delusions, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“I went through drug rehab, went back to Ohio State. Life continued,” he said. “About 2 years after the psych ward, our team went back to nationals. We won a huge national championship, and that was the highlight of my college career. Little did I know was that was the last time I would ever ski.”

In January 2011, after going off his medication, Adam was involved in a terrible car crash.

“I died at the scene—emergency crews resuscitated me and they took me to the hospital,” he said. “I woke up the next day in the ICU, paralyzed, and on a breathing tube. That’s where the next chapter of my life began.”

Now using a wheelchair, Adam went on to finish his degree at Ohio State. He’s also written a book about his experience, and has given over 300 speeches through his work as a motivational speaker. He feels it’s important to use his platform to advocate for those with disabilities, something he shares in common with Sherrod.

“Just because we can’t see someone’s disability doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously,” he said. “Senator Sherrod Brown is working to break down the stigma around mental illness and disability, championing the Americans with Disabilities Act and speaking out for workers with disabilities so that Ohioans of all abilities can live with the dignity and self-determination that we deserve.”