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a shirtless man in shorts is hanging on to Richard Corbett's shoulder, who is shirtless and sitting in his chair. The main holding on to Richard's shoulder appears to be flying. They are at a beach.
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Wheels2Walking: Tips and Tricks for Wheelchair Users


Editor’s Note: When fitness enthusiast Richard Corbett fell 50 feet while out for a jog in 2010, he broke both his legs, shattered an elbow, and sustained an L2 incomplete spinal cord injury. The next few years were spent in and out of rehab, both to recover from his physical injuries as well as his addiction to narcotics and other drugs. Ultimately accepting the use of a wheelchair, Corbett eventually chose to get back to living life. Recently, he decided the knowledge he’d acquired over the years could be a valuable resource for the newly injured and serve as an informative tool for the able-bodied community. That’s when Wheels2Walking, a channel for educational and entertaining content, was conceived. Wheel:Life writer Betsy Bailey spoke with Corbett about his injuries, addictions, and what he’s doing with Wheels2Walking.

Richard Corbett in a white t-shirt and black pants sitting in his wheelchair in front of some basketball arcade games.

From One Rehab to Another

When I first got hurt, I was diagnosed with an L2 incomplete injury, but I didn’t have any mobility function. The first month or so, I got my right quad back, which meant that if I leaned to one side and held something, I could stand. Walking was done with braces, crutches, or a walker, and I couldn’t go far or fast. It reached a point where I decided it wasn’t very efficient for me to walk even though I could technically do it.

I was very frustrated because I had worked hard to regain the ability to walk, but I accepted the chair and moved on with life.

I went back to work and school, but unfortunately, I ended up getting tragically addicted to narcotic pain medications, study drugs, and amphetamines. That spiraled me into a terrible place. I was depressed. I lost my job, pushed all my friends and family away, and my health was horrible. I had given up on life and was very close to wanting to kill myself.

Richard Corbett is shirtless with black pants sitting in his wheelchair while doing a gymnastics ring hold at a beach

I ended up in drug rehab, and as I began to take care of myself by eating right, exercising, socializing, laughing, smiling, being happy, going to therapy, and stretching, I started to regain some mobility that I didn’t think I’d ever get back. I spent a good 18 months to two years doing a combination of neuro recovery therapy, gym workouts, and eating and training like a bodybuilder. Today, I can walk around my house with no crutches or braces. If I go out and need to walk around or stand for any period of time, I bring my chair. If I’m going a short distance, for example from my car to sitting down at a restaurant, I’ll take my crutch. I don’t go far with my crutch, though, because it’s really painful. I have mixed mobility, but I mostly use my chair.

The chair is like great freedom. I love it. 

Richard Corbett is in his wheelchair wearing all black. In the background we see a very high building with many stories and an elevator shaft going up the middle.

Figuring Things Out

The two things that helped me learn the most after my injury were adaptive sports and traveling.

When you have that camaraderie with your teammates, you can talk about things you might not want to share with your doctor or friends.

You also see how other people manage things like their body, food, bowel, and bladder. When you’re traveling, you stay in rooms together. You become so closely knit in the sense that on a Tuesday afternoon, you might go out and eat fast food, and then on Wednesday night, some of your teammates are having bowel issues, and you think, “Those are the guys that had cheeseburgers.” So you learn not to eat greasy cheeseburgers.

Education and Entertainment

A colorful backround with Wheels2Walking written and a chest-up shot of Richard Corbett in a white shirt.

With Wheels2Walking, my mission is to reach people who are newly injured to help them improve their quality of life and regain their independence. We try to include a combination of entertaining and educational videos. We like to show people the cool activities they can do in a wheelchair and teach them how to do those things as well. While I’m on camera, I’m teaching newly injured wheelchair users, but I’m also educating able-bodied folks who may not have had any prior interactions with someone in a wheelchair.

Even people who’ve been in a chair for a long time sometimes discover new ways of doing things. That’s been my experience.

By hanging out with other wheelchair users, I come across different techniques and tricks.

Some of them are good. Some of them are terrible. Once, I saw a guy spit on his catheter for lubricant, and I thought that was a genius idea. Then I tried it and got a really bad UTI!

Daily Living Tips

Interestingly, the most popular videos are about daily living, like how to go grocery shopping or fly on a plane. The video where I sat down on the Venice Beach boardwalk with a sign that said, “Ask me anything,” is pretty popular. We recently posted a video where I interview my girlfriend about what it’s like to date a wheelchair user. That one has blown up. In the first two days, it surpassed the previous four videos in total views. My video called 10 Things I Wish People Knew about Wheelchair Users is pretty popular as well.

Richard Corbett is sitting in his wheelchair wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. His girlfriend, who has long dark hair, is hugging his shoulders from behind. They are in front of a colorful mural.

My most popular video by far is titled Why I Use a Wheelchair if I Can Walk. On Facebook, it has over 400,000 views.

The purpose of that video is to educate the able-bodied community about why some people who can walk choose to use a wheelchair.

We also subtly and playfully poke fun at people who point and stare at wheelchair users.

Looking for Partners and Sponsors

Wheels2Walking is a mission I truly believe in. It’s currently self-funded, and I’m treating it like a startup. At the moment, we’re making videos, building brand authority, cultivating relationships with people, and garnering an online following. We’re also working on gaining video sponsorships. We’d like to partner with products, brands, and services that are helpful to the SCI and wheelchair community.

I’m not going to peddle multivitamins or yoga pants. I’m not interested in that because it doesn’t add value to my audience.

Ads are frustrating when consuming media, so I only want to promote products and services that are relevant. This might be a new catheter I’ve tried, a useful wheelchair accessory, or other tools that make tasks more efficient for someone who uses a chair. It’s just a matter of getting those companies on board because I have a highly engaged audience that’s ready to bite.

One Piece of Advice the Newly Injured

Richard Corbett is sitting in his chair on the shore of a beach. The sun is setting in the horizon.

You don’t have to get your legs back in order to get your life back. Make sure that while you are rehabilitating your body, you also get back to your life. It doesn’t have to be either/or. A lot of people will dedicate years to trying to get their body back but will do absolutely nothing to get their life back. I think it needs to be a balance. People have said to me, “I can’t start life again until I’m walking.” But that’s not true.

Legs are not required to live. That is what I’d love more people to hear. 

Editor’s Note: Follow Wheels2Walking on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. If you’d like to support Wheels2Walking financially, become a patron at Patreon.com/wheels2walking.

Head over to the Wheel:Life Facebook page and comment on this post telling us what topic you’d like Wheels2Walking to cover next!

All information in this article was extracted from an interview with Richard Corbett or the various Wheels2Walking social media profiles.

About the Author

betsy-bailey-headshot

Betsy Bailey has a diverse background that includes experience in marketing research, business operations, travel and culinary writing, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.

Betsy has been writing for Wheel:Life since January of 2017 and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. She also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!

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Editor’s Note:  A Texas coast native, David Gaston has been in and ...

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Gain Traction This Fall with National Ramp

Summer is officially over and dreary winter weather is on its way. ...

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Wheelchair Dancers Organization Says Everybody Can Dance!

When life-long dancer Beverly Weurding was diagnosed with limb-girdle ...

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Pursuing Health and Happiness with Malaise Wheelchair Fitness

Editor’s Note: Justin Malaise grew up in small-town Wisconsin as a ...

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Former Ms. Wheelchair Illinois Continues to be a Voice for the Community

Editor’s Note: Born with spina bifida, Kim Brown has been a ...

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Dare to Discover the World of Accessible Travel With Handiscover

Editor’s Note: Sebastien Archambeaud has always loved traveling, so ...

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Made for Kids! The Pediatric Hydrophilic Cure Catheter + Free Backpack Program

Parents only want what’s best for their children and keeping them ...

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Wheeling, Driving, Bowling, Preaching, Parenting…Johnny Hudson Does It All Hands-free!

Editor’s Note: Johnny Hudson was born in 1977 with unforeseen ...

Pat Dougherty explains FreeWheel to a new fan at a recent Abilities Expo.
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The Abilities Expo is Coming To Boston!

Boston awaits with open arms. This September 8–10, head over to the ...

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Comfort Conversations: Change Starts with You – Becoming an Advocate

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

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WheelchairTravel.org: Blazing the Trail Towards an Accessible World  

Editor’s Note: After sustaining severe burns during a car accident ...

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The Artfully Gifted Foundation – Serving Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: The Artfully Gifted Foundation (a non-profit) was ...

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How the SCRS-IL Can Help You Live Independently

Editor’s Note: When triple degree holder Jose Gonzalez returned ...

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Peter Arballo Never Gave Up on Himself — Neither Should You

Editor’s Note: Peter Arballo was born in Southern California to ...

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Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

Editor’s Note: Michael Johnson of Lansing, Michigan, started racing ...

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The Extraordinary Life of Triple Amputee Monica Vickers

Editor’s Note: Monica Vickers was born in 1954 missing both legs ...

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Rick Hayden Rolls on Capitol Hill for Your Rights

When Rick Hayden visited the US Capitol last week, he went with your ...

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Gear Up for Abilities Expo Chicago

Calling all Midwesterners — Abilities Expo is coming to Chicago! As ...

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Run, Jump, and Throw Stuff with Angel City Sports

Editor’s Note: Clayton Frech is the CEO and founder of Los ...

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Sled Hockey with Coach Koz

Editor’s Note: Sled hockey (also known as sledge hockey) is almost ...

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL
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Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

Editor’s Note: Mary Marshall, founder of STYLEDWEL, created ...

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Following Your Inner Guidance with Kristina Rhoades and How National Ramp is Helping Her Do It

Editor’s Note: Kristina Rhoades is a mom, wife, speaker, writer, ...

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Comfort Conversations: Finding Encouragement Through Peer Support Groups

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

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Allen Beauchamp on Life, Love and Hockey

My name is Allen Beauchamp, and I’m 43 years old. I live in a ...

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Yoocan Get Empowered!

Editor’s Note: Inspired by a family member with disabilities, Moshe ...

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Introducing the Cure Ultra: Ready to Use Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra™ Intermittent ...

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Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

East coasters, or anyone within striking distance, gear up for ...

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Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

Editor’s note: Paul Brailer, aka Criptaedo, was born with spina ...

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Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

I’m currently 63 years old and live in Durham, North Carolina. ...

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Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

Editor’s Note: At 18 years old, Mallory Weggemann walked into the ...

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Comfort Conversations: Finding Your New Normal After a Spinal Cord Injury

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

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Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

Editor’s note:  Glenn Moscoso is a husband and father living with ...

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Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

Editor’s Note: After selling his prior business, Garth Walker went ...

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The National Sports Center for the Disabled: Finding Self-Confidence through Personal Challenge

Editor’s Note: The National Sports Center for the Disabled, founded ...

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Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

Editor’s Note: Based in England, Susie Twydell, an avid traveler ...

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Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

Wheel:Life is thrilled to announce their newest community partner, ...

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Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

Editor’s Note: Wilderness on Wheels (WOW) is a foundation and a ...

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Comfort Conversations: Events, Free Packs, and More with James “Woody” Beckham

Editor’s Note: The Woody Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ...

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Jenn Sexton Shares Her Secret for Independence: An Extra Long Cure Catheter

Jenn Sexton was five weeks pregnant when she and her husband, Thomas, ...

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Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

Editors note: As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Glen ...

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Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

The Abilities Expo is back in Los Angeles and gearing up to show you ...

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Juan Sebastian Betancourt: Changing the Way Businesses Serve People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: Juan Betancourt is on a path to change the world for ...

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AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

Editor’s note: Kerstin Beise, a German physiotherapist, who also ...

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A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

Editor’s note: Hydred Makabali, born and raised in England and now ...

Up/Down Team Champions (Top L to R) Shane Hayden, Harold Collins (Seated L to R) Gary Bowling, Kenneth Hill, and Don Law
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Knocking Down The Pins of Life with Wheelchair Bowling Champion Kenneth Hill

Editor’s Note: Fifty-year-old Kenneth Hill from Plainfield, ...

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Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

Editor’s Note: Fifty-six-year-old Denise Horn of Janesville, ...

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Ashley Hutson Wilson Beat a Small Chance of Survival to Live a Full Life

Editor’s Note: Thirty-one year old Ashley Hutson Wilson from Kyle, ...

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Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

Editor’s Note: Mel Bergman of Camarillo, California, is the ...

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Gary “Tiger” Balletto: Champion Prize Fighter Who Rolls with the Punches

Editor’s Note: You can capture a ferocious wild tiger and put him ...

9 Robby Heisner
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Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

Editor’s Note: Robby Heisner of Smyrna, Georgia ...

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The National Rifle Association’s Adaptive Shooting Program with Dr. Joseph Logar

Dr. Joseph Logar Editor’s Note: Dr. Joseph Logar has his doctorate ...

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The Rollettes Take On an E.P.I.C. Project to Empower Others

Editor’s Note: Chances are, you’ve seen these ladies ...

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Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

Your window is narrowing to preserve access to mobility equipment – ...

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Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

Our friends at GRIT, the makers of the revolutionary Freedom Chair, ...

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Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

Editor’s Note: Serving our country as a military service member is ...

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Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

Editor’s Note: Kenneth Perry from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ...

5 Tom Cannalonga
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Ditch Your Chair to Sit-Ski the Slopes with Tom Cannalonga 

Editor’s Note: Fifty-two-year-old Tom Cannalonga lives in Edison, ...

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Welcome to Wheel:Life

We are so glad you’re here! Wheel:Life is a global initiative ...

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