Paralympic bobsleigh prospect looks to WNC for next dream


The motivation to move on from a heartbreaking and upsetting snowboarding accident in 2013 did not come overnight for Steven Jacobo, a freshman at Western Nevada College.
But it happened.
In fact, after a year of recovery from T-9 and T-10 spinal cord fractures that left him paraplegic, Jacobo was inspired by other people with paralysis and the way they led. their life.
“The transition, I’m not going to lie, it was pretty sad for about a year in a row because my surgeon told me I would be released from the hospital and that clearly didn’t happen,” said Jacobo.
Remembering that life-changing day at Sierra, Tahoe in 2013, Jacobo gets emotional, but it’s obviously a story he’s been asked to tell on multiple occasions.
“I did a 15 foot jump that I was really not ready for and it knocked me over and I fell about 25 feet on my back on a very steep incline, and there was practically no no snow because it was towards the end of the season, ”he recalled.
Confined to bed for the first week after his accident, Jacobo felt his legs weaken and the fear of not being able to walk. But his outlook changed when he began rehabilitating at the Ranchos Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.
“I saw hopes of walking, but several doctors also told me that I would never walk again,” he recalls.
After a year of depression and not knowing which direction to take in his life, watching YouTube videos of other paraplegics doing basic daily chores inspired him to transition to a wheelchair-powered life.
“I started my own YouTube channel on how I do things as a paraplegic, and it has helped me a lot,” he said.
Seeing how Grant Korgan of the Alpine Assassins bounced back from a snowmobile accident that left him paralyzed from waist to toe also inspired Jacobo on his recovery and return to winter sports.
“I read his book when I was in the hospital and what he went through with winter sports and the High Five Foundation,” Jacobo said. “It all motivated me to get back into sport, to set goals and to make things better.”
Before his accident, Jacobo said he was a young man enjoying the benefits of living in Lake Tahoe.
“I was quite young, I worked as a chef. I think it helped me with goals, to tell you the truth. I had no goal of going to college at the time, ”he said.
However, it was during that first year of recovery that a Facebook post changed the meaning of his life. He was contacted by a para bobsleigh pioneer who encouraged Jacobo to try the sport.
“Before my accident, I didn’t know bobsleigh or really knew much about it,” Jacobo recalls. “He wanted me to go to bobsleigh school in Calgary, Canada, and when he contacted me it was the first year I was injured, so I wasn’t really ready physically, so I told him to contact me a year later. “
In 2014, Jacobo spent 5 weeks in Calgary learning to bobsled. He was a fast learner. In the same year, he took part in the first Para-Bobsleigh World Cup events in Austria and Switzerland.
Bobsleighing is a gravity-fueled sport that relies on the importance of recognizing the literal victory line. “You want to find the fastest line, so any little bump or hit on the wall you’re going to lose speed,” said Jacobo, now an athlete on the US para-bobsleigh team.
Jacobo, a self-described adrenaline junkie who thrives in extreme sports, quickly fell in love with bobsleigh.
“The trails are normally about a mile long; by the time you get to the bottom of a track it can take around 50 seconds to a minute on average and you can hit a speed of around 90 mph, ”he said.
He is set to compete in eight World Cup events this season, competing as far away as Switzerland and Austria. Earlier this season, he finished second in his career to win a medal at a World Cup held in Lake Placid, NY But he has bigger goals in the sport.
“To be able to compete in the first World Cups until the first World Championships and the first Paralympic Games would be just great… one of my big goals for sure,” said Jacobo.
The Paralympic Games will have to wait, however, since bobsleigh is not yet sanctioned for the Games.
“Being able to compete in the bobsleigh is great for someone like Steven,” said Susan Trist, Director of Disability Support Services at WNC. “I don’t think he will ever want to give up competition or winter sports, so being able to participate in adapted sports is fulfilling for him.”
Even though Jacobo is driven to reach the top of his sport, there are other parts of his life that consume more of his time and passion.
Going to college was never on his radar as a teenager and young adult, but now Jacobo is enjoying his first semester at WNC.
“What brought me here is that I’m really into engineering and with this space race going on, I thought it would be really interesting to get into aerospace engineering,” said Jacobo. “I’ve always liked to take things apart and put them back together and make things better.”
Due to his World Cup schedule and training, Jacobo was able to take all of his classes online.
Jacobo is also looking beyond WNC. He plans to transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno, after earning his associate degree to complete his engineering degree.
If you are still considering your options for the future, remember that you have a choice. There is still time to register for the winter session and with each new semester comes the impatience of what awaits us. WNC offers 5-week crash courses starting Monday, December 20 and 3-week courses starting Monday, January 3. To view available courses, go to wnc.edu/class-schedule/.
Stay on track, like Steven, focus on your priorities and find ways to stay motivated. For more information on education and professional training opportunities, make an appointment for advice by calling 775-445-3267 or emailing [email protected]


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