Partner Michael Warshauer Writes About Helping Wheelchair Athletes Compete in the Atlanta Half Marathon

Partner Michael Warshauer Writes About Helping Wheelchair Athletes Compete in the Atlanta Half Marathon Apr 12, 2019

I represent catastrophically injured people. My clients have been injured by defective and dangerous machines, unsafe workplaces, and by the mistakes of their doctors. Many have suffered amputations, while others have been paralyzed. It’s important for me to understand their lives so I can do my best to ensure that they are fully compensated. I need to understand their injuries so that I can help jurors understand what it is like for them to be unable to move through life like they once did. Over the years, my education in this regard has come from going to my clients’ homes; meeting them in my office, going to restaurants with them, and talking to their doctors. It’s been less than perfect but I do think I have a sense of what they are going through. I do think I know how to help juries understand these injuries and the lives of the people affected. But despite all of my years as a trial lawyer helping those who can’t walk or move around, other than the occasional push of a wheel chair here and there in my office or in the courthouse, I’d never really helped anyone in a wheelchair experience life in any kind of way that they might have previously enjoyed. I delivered compensation, but I never delivered fun. That’s why it was so fulfilling for me to take part in the Atlanta Half Marathon, sponsored by the Atlanta Track Club, as a wheelchair pusher for the Kyle Pease Foundation.

 

The race was on March 17th, a chilly Sunday. I’ve run plenty of half marathons so I wasn’t worried about getting through the 13.1 mile hilly course that winds its way through Atlanta. But I’d certainly never helped push a wheelchair more than a few feet, and I had no idea what I was in for. Would it be super slow? Or super fast? Would it be really hard? I had no idea.

I had two teammates from my Podium Sports Triathlon team helping, so I knew we would get through the race. What I didn’t know was how much I would enjoy helping our wheelchair athlete finish this race. Our young man was unable to speak, but he expressed his excitement every time we passed another wheelchair, and he urged us on when another wheelchair was in sight with enthusiastic sounds that, while not words, were unquestionably understandable as meaning “go go go!”

We finished in a fine time and I’ll do it again. I can’t say that helping a wheelchair athlete finish a half marathon is as big a deal as obtaining compensation that will provide for medical bills, lost wages, and the suffering that is necessarily attached to being in a wheelchair and being unable to walk, but it was certainly a great day. In fact, I think I’m not only a better person but a better lawyer now too. Look out next year!

Categories: