Today, most people recognize 55-year-old Bert Burns of Atlanta, Georgia, from his work with LASCI (Life After Spinal Cord Injury) and as the founder of UroMed.
Bert has come a long way from 1982 when he was injured in an automobile accident . At 20 years old and in college, he was driving home late at night from work where he waited tables at a restaurant. A drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into the car Bert was driving. The accident broke his vertebrae at C6 and C7.
“Like many people, I thought my life was over,” Bert recalls. “I didn’t know how I would get through life in a wheelchair.” Bert began to question too, “Will I ever be able to find a wife? How am I ever going to be able to live independently?”
Thanks to friends and family support, Bert has excelled and accomplished more than anyone ever dreamed he would after his SCI. Just a few highlights of his amazing achievements are below!
VIDEO: NBC 13 Interviews Bert Burns for LASCI Peer Support Progam
Birmingham’s NBC 13 [WVTM-TV] talk show, Daytime Alabama featured UroMed’s motivational program, Life After Spinal Cord Injury to bring awareness to the positive role that adaptive sports can play for wheelchair users worldwide.
“I learned that there is life after spinal cord injury, and I began to discover that there were a lot of things I could do and excel in,” Bert remembers.
Bert says that his recreational therapist, Ann Tabor, had one of the greatest impacts on his life. Bert met Ann while going through rehab, and she introduced him to a wide variety of recreational wheelchair sports. He took to these sports much like a duck takes to water, because he had played football and baseball in high school and intramural sports in college.
“After meeting Ann and learning from her, I changed my major while in college from a finance major to a recreational therapist, and I developed a love for wheelchair racing,” Bert says.
Bert Burns Was Born to Race in Marathons
Bert found that he had a talent and an unusual skill for racing wheelchairs. He also learned that he had a phenomenal amount of endurance.
As proof of his love of the sport, Bert raced in a 52-1/2 mile long double wheelchair marathon, and he won that race in the quad division.
“That race was the hardest thing I ever did in my life,” Bert explains.
“I had a wheelchair racer, John Brewer, behind me who never ever would give up. John was pressing me so hard, that I knew if I backed off, he’d take the victory. At certain points in the race, he was as close as 50 yards to me and as far back as 200 yards from me. He was dogging my tracks for the last 35 miles. He wouldn’t slow down, and this caused me to not slow down.” Bert names the wheelchair marathon as his favorite event and has raced in 87 marathons. “I want to do 13 more marathons,” Bert reports. “So, by the end of my career, I will have rolled in 100 marathon races”
Bert went to the Paralympics and won a gold medal in the 4×100 relay. His team set a world record for that race that still stands today. He’s also taken silver and bronze medals in the Paralympics.
“One of the medals that stands-out most in my memory is a bronze medal I won in a marathon in the 2000 Paralympics,” Bert says. “Even though I didn’t win that race, I was still the third fastest wheelchair marathon racer in the world, and I enjoyed holding that title.”
Bert Loves MurderBall too
Wheelchair rugby often has been dubbed murderball. “In wheelchair rugby, you get to run into people in wheelchairs, knock them over and carry the ball across the goal line,” Bert explains.
“Wheelchair rugby is kind of a crazy sport, but it’s a lot of fun. For athletes who have played football, lacrosse, rugby and/or hockey and enjoyed those sports, wheelchair rugby allows these same athletes to have almost the same type of contact they had before their disabilities.”
Bert played wheelchair rugby from 1989 until he retired from the sport in 2010.
Bert Burns Shares His Views on Business and Being a Father of Twins
“I started off working for a medical supply company in sales,” Bert says. “I realized that I could do the same thing that the company was doing. If I had my own company and picked the people who worked for me, I knew I could conduct business even better. So, I started UroMed in 1996, and I grew that company until 2014 when we sold the company. At that time, we were serving more than 7,000 individuals with urological supplies.”
Also in 1996, Bert married his wife, Joy, and they’ve been married for 21 years. In 2001, the couple had twins – a boy, Will, and a girl, Emma. The twins are 15 years old now.
Today, Bert is still actively investing in and growing businesses. “I enjoy owning my own company and helping people out,” Bert emphasizes.
“Any time you help other people, it pays off for you also. I enjoy being my own boss too.”
Bert Shares Why He Created LASCI – Life After Spinal Cord Injury
“Lisa Wells and I started LASCI in 2012,” Bert explains. “We created LASCI to serve people with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida and/or disabilities or those who work with people with disabilities or are caregivers.”
“LASCI serves as an online support group for people with spinal cord injuries. LASCI has about 65,000 members, and they really help each other by answering questions submitted to LASCI. Often, people will ask a question and get three or four different answers within about 5 minutes. Someone who has similar problems can read the questions people post on this forum and give some solutions to those problems,” Bert shares.
“One of my favorite stories about LASCI was right after we had posted the support group on facebook. It had been up for only a couple of months when a reader posted, ‘My husband has a spinal cord injury. He just got home from rehab, and I can’t get him to come out of his room. What can I do to motivate him to start going out of the house?’
I gave her two or three suggestions about what to do to solve this problem. Then about 2 hours later, I looked at LASCI again, and 19 other people had given her great ideas that I’d not even considered.
I realized then that everyone with a spinal cord injury could help anyone else solve problems related to spinal cord injuries.”
Bert Burns Supports Cure Medical and the Cure Commitment
When Bert was asked for his opinion on Cure Medical’s policy of giving 10 percent of the company’s profits to research to help cure spinal cord injuries, he answered, “I think this is a great program. If more research can be funded, I believe we’ll get a cure for spinal cord injuries sooner.”
“I really believe that all the disabilities we know of and the diseases that people get can be cured, if we can come up with enough money for the research required to cure those problems.”
“I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is that Cure believes in funding paralysis and urinary retention research, and that’s one of the reasons why I appreciate Cure Medical,” Bert says.
“One of the reasons I recommend Cure catheters is that they’re very good catheters and are cost effective,” Bert explains.
“Because Cure’s catheters have polished eyelets, these catheters don’t cause as much irritation in your urethra as other catheters without polished eyelets do. That polished smooth tip allows the catheter to go in and out much easier and more smoothly, causing less damage to the urethra,” Bert adds.
Choose a Cure!
To request free samples of the Cure Catheter® or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
Video: United Spinal Chapter President Rick Hayden Discusses Strictures and Why He Chooses a Cure
“When I’m asked by people, ‘How can I decide which catheter is best for me?’ I suggest that you try several different catheters from various companies.
But make sure that Cure catheters are in your test group,” Bert recommends.
“Good catheters are being made today that are safe and comfortable for everyone. You just need to find out which style of catheter works best for you,” he adds with a smile.
Enjoy Our Free Resources & Articles
All of the information you find below and on our related social media pages is meant to guide you to places, topics and, resources that enhance your life, while also connecting you with a growing group of friends.
You may also enjoy: