BraunAbility Helps Donate Wheelchair Van to High School Coach

Marc Strohmaier and AZ Cardinals.

In October 1988, Marc Strohmaier’s life took a dramatic turn. One day he was the starting linebacker for his high school; the next he was paralyzed from the chest down.

Strohmaier and a friend were passengers in a truck that was struck when another car ran a stop sign. His friend was killed in the accident, and Strohmaier, then 16 years old, was paralyzed.

His football career as a linebacker ended, and he spent several months training in a rehabilitation center trying to relearn the basics, such as how to independently feed himself and operate his power wheelchair.

Strohmaier didn’t let the accident hold him back. In 1990, he graduated with his high school class and then moved from California to Arizona State University, where he earned a degree in 1997.

“Everyone experiences ups and downs, but I do my best to not let life’s obstacles get in the way of having a positive attitude,” Strohmaier told the Arizona Cardinals in a recent letter.

That attitude led him to a career in teaching and helped earn him a spot on the coaching staff at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz. The football team has won four state titles in Strohmaier’s years with them.

At Hamilton, Strohmaier has made a significant impact on the lives of many players by coaching from the sidelines, especially former player Devin McCafferty. So, when it became obvious that Strohmaier’s 11-year-old accessible vehicle was on its last leg, McCafferty reached out to his father, Brian McCafferty, owner of Avondale Toyota, the local Toyota dealership. Brian was happy to pay back the man who had such an influence on his son Devin.

And that’s how Strohmaier’s life took another dramatic turn. At halftime during a playoff game he received a new BraunAbility Rampvan XT, donated to the 39-year-old coach on behalf of BraunAbility Avondale Toyota and Toyota Mobility.

The entire community joined together to make the donation possible. Ability Center in Phoenix donated service toward the vehicle, and the Arizona Cardinals NFL team presented Strohmaier with $5,000 toward insurance for his new ride. The Cardinals brought along players Patrick Peterson, Dan Williams and Calais Campbell as well as a few cheerleaders and Big Red, the Cardinals mascot, to the award ceremony.