For 25 years, Sam Schmidt has been a beloved figure in the IndyCar Series, first as a driver, then as a team owner and a champion of innovation, persistence and the human spirit. During a practice session in Florida in 2000, he lost control of his car and smashed into a concrete barrier at about 180 miles per hour. Doctors saved his life, but he has been paralyzed from the shoulders down since. Within about a year, he had started a racing team as well as a not-for-profit group dedicated to raising funds for medical research, developing innovative equipment for rehabilitation and helping people with severe mobility issues navigate their lives again.
Schmidt announced this month that the group, now called Conquer Paralysis Now, would be moving its headquarters from Las Vegas to the former home of Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 96th Street, right on the border between Indianapolis and Carmel. The facility also will house CPN’s second Driven NeuroRecovery Center, offering fitness programs, adaptive sports, aquatics, physical and occupational therapy and mental health services. CPN expects to invest $22 million in the whole project, including the nearly $8 million that it already has paid to purchase the property.
In this week’s edition of the podcast, Schmidt shares his story of recovery from a near fatal injury and how he uses it to help inspire others with mobility issues. He explains why he wanted to move his not-for-profit to the Indy area, as well as his vision for how the Driven Center will work with many of the big players in central Indiana’s medical community. And he discusses his plans to create Driven Centers across the country—as many as 25 within five years.
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Looking for another podcast to try? Check out IBJ’s The Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman, a monthly discussion about diversity and inclusion in central Indiana’s business community.