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Team Capt Robert    SCI C5-7

Capt Robert suffered a spinal cord injury and C6 burst fracture of the neck on August 18, 2012 while boating with friends in Crystal River when he dove in murky water to cool off. Never losing consciousness, he knew he was in trouble as popping and cracking of bones were ringing in his head. In the process of struggling to keep his head above water with limited use of his arms and no feeling in his legs, he aspirated saltwater which led to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) within 24 hours. Doctors at the Trauma facility he was airlifted to were skeptical that he would survive the serious condition which only 20% of patients recover from. It was a major setback for his recovery but after 3 weeks in an induced coma, he awoke with a passion and determination to walk again and regain use of his hands which are crucial to his work as a Charter Captain and Guide. After another 5 weeks in an inpatient rehab setting, he returned home to pursue aggressive locomotor training to help his nervous system "remember" function he desired to regain. Another setback came a year later when it was determined that he would need surgery to correct a condition known as Heterotopic Ossification that resulted from his injury. Life after injury has been difficult but he is determined to stay positive and continue recovering in different ways.  

Capt Robert attended activity based rehabilitative therapy for the first few years but the extreme cost kept him from being able to continue. His focus became "Quality of Life" and finding ways to continue doing things he enjoyed before his accident. His mission is to help Injured take time away from their daily challenges and enjoy "salt therapy" which he finds so healing. He continues to fish as often as possible using adaptive seating and equipment.  He has been diving for lobster, duck hunting and started an organic garden. While he continues to fundraise to help with daily medically related expenses, he is also an advocate for raising funds to help others recover also. Tighten The Drag Foundation was organized after his accident as a way to provide scholarships for those who are committed to getting better and living the best life possible.

Before his accident, Capt Robert fished the Tampa Bay area from Tarpon Springs to Boca Grande for over 14 years. He started his own Guide service, Gulf to Bay Sportfishing in 2011. He was a tournament angler and member of various conservation organizations. In 2010, He saved an accident victim from drowning while fishing on Easter Sunday in Tampa under the Howard Frankland Bridge and a few months later, rescued a family that had overturned their canoe and were not wearing life jackets. The youngest in the group, who could not swim, climbed on top of the canoe, nearly drowning the other family members who were caught up in their nets and lines beneath the boat. Capt Robert rescued each of them one by one from the water by cutting the lines away from them and safely delivering them back to the boat ramp. 

Capt Robert attended CORE (Center for Recovery & Exercise) in Orlando ( and enjoys spending time in his organic garden. He is passionate about organic eating and keeping his body as healthy as possible. His faith has kept him strong and given him purpose for his injury. Because of his accident, he lives with purpose and is able to help others in a different way that he feels is of utmost importance.  

September is National Spinal Cord Injury  Awareness Month


Capt Robert was a Licensed Fishing Guide and Charter Captain before his injury.  He loved Tarpon Fishing and helping others catch their first fish.


Capt Robert dives off a crashed vehicle to save a stranger just 16 months before the injury that
shattered his neck.

Watch the video here.

Capt Robert continues to pursue his passions despite his injury...


Capt Robert speaks out publicly to help others with Spinal Injuries & support the charity he conceived that brings Injured together and allows them to experience a day on the water ...

Woods N Water Aug
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