Clint Cook was born and raised in Georgia and is currently running his second medical supplies company. Over 30 years post-SCI, Clint spends his spare time offering peer support in his local community and online via his Facebook group, Spinal Cord Injury USA. Check out his story below and connect with SCI USA here!
In 1988, Clint Cook was just a couple years out of high school when he survived a spinal cord injury. After a fun night out, he and a friend got carried away racing home in brand new muscle cars and Clint had a terrible accident. His car flipped end-over-end, ejecting him from the vehicle and eventually landing on top of him.
For more than 15 minutes, Clint was pinned against the vehicle’s engine as he waited for the emergency crew to arrive.Clint’s accident resulted in a cervical spinal cord injury and severe burns on his back. He was transported immediately to a small, local hospital, where he stayed in ICU until he was well enough to travel to Shepherd Center for rehab.
Clint spent four months in rehab at Shepherd and another year doing daily outpatient rehab.
Clint Cook Embraces Life After SCI
A few months into rehab, Clint was so busy with therapy that he hadn’t really thought ahead as to what he would do when he was discharged. He recalls, “One afternoon, I’m laying in rehab at Shepherd and this little old lady in a wheelchair rolls in and says she wants to talk to me about going to college. I thought, ‘Why? I’m a house painter and that’s what I’ll do when I leave.’
“She explained that that career might not work for me anymore. I realized she was right, so I took her up on the offer and explored going to college.”
“As soon as I got out of rehab,” Clint continues, “I started college, and got a degree in music business. Not long after graduation, I got a phone call from the biggest radio station in Atlanta and I thought I’d won a contest or something. It turns out they had spoken to my college counselor who said I would be perfect for a job they had. They asked me to come in for an interview and I got the job. So, I worked in radio broadcasting from ’91 until ’93, when I was introduced to the medical supplies field.”
Clint Cook found his calling when he discovered the medical supplies industry.
He shares, “I started with a small medical supply company in ’93 and I was with that company until ’96. Then, a few friends and I started our own DME company. I did that for another 13 years and retired from that company in 2009. Now, I’m back in the urological industry with one of my former partners, and we opened a new DME company this year.”
Clint Cook Believes in the Power of Peer Support
Over the years, Clint has continued to stay active at Shepherd Center as a peer supporter and mentor for others with SCI. He facilitates weekly meetings and works with folks around Georgia to create local peer support groups in their area.
He believes it’s important to share experiences and be there to show others what’s possible.
For example, Clint recently joined a group from Shepherd Center at the Atlanta airport to demonstrate some of his best adaptive travel hacks. They covered everything from parking, to riding the airport train to avoiding big crowds.
About 6 months ago, Clint decided to start a private Facebook group to reach and connect more people with SCI. He says, “I’m just amazed how the community comes together online and helps each other on any topic imaginable. I absolutely fell in love with way the community interacts.”
If you have a spinal cord injury and would like to request to join the Spinal Cord Injury USA group, click here.
Peer support isn’t just helpful for coping with an SCI or other disability, but it can also help individuals deal with common struggles that impact all walks of life, such as addiction.
For Clint, that struggle was alcohol. He explains, “I’ve been in recovery for ten years and have used the 12-step program.”
Clint remembers blaming his disability when he was struggling the most in feeling that no one else understood how difficult it was to be in his position. But, in recovery, he learned that wasn’t the case. “It was just an excuse,” Clint shares. “It wasn’t my disability that was the problem, it was me.”
“In the very end, I lost everything because of my addiction. I think it’s easy to fall into very bad habits after someone acquires a disability, if you don’t engage and get the support you need. That’s exactly why I do peer support.”
Spinal Cord Injury USA Plans an In-Person Meet Up
In April of 2019, Clint Cook and a friend are organizing an event called the Atlanta Meet Up, where members of his Facebook group will have the opportunity to gather in Atlanta and spend some time face-to-face.
The Atlanta Meet Up will take place April 26-28, 2019 and will include an experience at iFly Atlanta, as well as a Life Rolls On skate event.
Recently, Clint Cook was also a volunteer judge for the Wheels Up! Photo Contest organized by Sports ‘N Spokes, Cure Medical, the Spina Bifida Association and Abilities Expo! See the winners here!
Clint Cook Says Cure Medical Does a “Stand Up Job”
Clint says, “I love the fact that Cure has so many different options for catheters, like straight tip, coude tip, closed systems, and hydrophilic. If people are using it, Cure offers it. And, of course, I love the fact that they donate money back into SCI research.”
“Cure does a stand up job of not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. They could just be a catheter company, but they choose to be involved with the community, and I’ve got tons of respect for that.”
“On the business side of it, they are so easy to work with. Great reps, great communication, quick to respond and send samples. And the Cure Nation, the blog where you are reading my story, is a great free resource and an excellent form of peer support,” Clint concludes.
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