ST MARYS — Johnsonburg native Zac Wolfe, 28, has taken a life-changing situation and turned it into a way to spread positivity to the disabled community and beyond.
Wolfe, who moved to St. Marys in 2015 with his wife, Brittney, said he always enjoyed the outdoors growing up.
“In the summer time, you could usually find me on my bicycle, running, riding my ATV and dirt bikes and everything in between,” he said. “During the winter months, I was part of the high school wrestling team and devoted a lot of time to the sport.”
On July 3, 2011, Wolfe’s life changed in the blink of an eye at age 19, when he was in a tragic car accident that resulted in a C5-C6 spinal cord injury.
“I woke up, face down, in the middle of the road, unable to move any of my limbs — talk about being scared,” he said. “While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, a million thoughts ran through my head. That was the longest few minutes of my life, and nothing could’ve prepared me for what was to come.”
Wolfe was lifeflighted to the nearest trauma center, and soon found out how serious the injury was, classifying him as a quadriplegic.
“I was completely speechless,” he said. “It honestly came down to the constant thoughts of doubt. ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ and ‘How will I continue to do the things I love?’
One week later, Wolfe was in rehabilitation with a lot of work to do, he says.
“I had two choices: sit around and feel sorry for myself, and the other, get out of my head and into ‘fighter’ mode, where I will do everything in my power to make the best of this situation,” he said. “I was raised a fighter, and knew giving up was not an option.”
Wolfe was in inpatient rehab for two months, and never missed a day, he said, before going to an outpatient facility at Penn Highlands Elk, where staff members went above and beyond to help him get stronger. Wolfe also attributes much of his strength to wrestling throughout the years.
“It wasn’t easy, and it’s still not at times, but I give it my all,” he said. “Tasks that were once simple take a lot longer to do now. When it comes down to it, it’s a mind game. ‘Do you believe in yourself?’ The answer should always be ‘Yes.’”
Adaptive OutdoorzWolfe put much of his motivation and energy into his “Adaptive Outdoorz” personal blog on Facebook and website to help people facing similar situations, who may feel discouraged by a disability.
“My goal is to bring the disabled community together to share unique stories of overcoming obstacles and being active outdoors, as well as to help others who are struggling to find the inner strength to move forward. Everyone adapts to their own situation differently, and by sharing our stories, we can learn from one another.”
Wolfe aims to post his own journey in staying active, and appeal to an array of people, not just those with spinal cord injuries, but all types of disabilities, creating a “hub” where they can share tips on adaptive equipment.
Making his journey public has been important to Wolfe, he said, since the word “can’t” is too often used when it comes to a disabled person.
“This is to raise awareness that a disability does not define a person,” he said. “I want to show the disabled community that anything is possible with the right mind set. Every day is not going to go your way, but that’s life. It’s all about pushing through the tough times and moving forward.”
Wolfe says he was told he would never be able to push a manual wheelchair, but worked hard to prove them wrong, and now operates one himself. He also rides a handcycle bike, going on adventures with his wife and dog, Otto.
“If there is one thing someone can take from this journey of mine, it’s that you only have one life to live, so why not live it to the fullest?” Wolfe said. “Get out and explore this beautiful world.”
Visit and “like” the Adaptive Outdoorz” personal blog on Facebook or www.adaptiveoutdoorz.com.