January 5, 1993 began as a very typical day for David Buck. David, an extreme skier, was once again above the tree line at the top of Mount Baldy at an altitude greater than 9,000 feet and staring down the familiar path that would take him to the bottom. For David, this is his normal. He finds peace in attacking life with a bold, self-confident belief that he manages to wrap in a gentle spirit characterized by a warm, engaging smile.
Near immediately after beginning his trek down the mountain, David noticed a young man on a snowboard traveling down the mountain behind him. David understood that the combination of the conditions on this day and the presence of the snowboarder could create an avalanche behind him. Still, for David, this was no cause for alarm. This was not unusual. He had always enjoyed the opportunity to outrun an avalanche. This day might offer a similar rush, a rush down the mountain to beat an imposing avalanche.
Then, it happened. Except, this time the avalanche was greater than David could have imagined. How could a snowboarder create such a wall of snow? David, an instinctive and skilled skier, immediately located a tree and was able to grab a limb, a limb he hoped would serve as the mountain’s life preserver. The limb’s integrity would be compromised in only a matter of seconds. David would fall 150 feet and tumble another 150 feet down the side of Mount Baldy.
For David, this became one of those moments when life is lived in slow-motion and time seems to stand still. He recalls praying for his son as he was falling uncontrollably down the side of the mountain. He recalls seeing a spiral of lights, an out-of-body experience, that will be forever framed in his mind. During his fall, David also recalled the teaching of legendary Grand Master Kim Jin Pal who had trained David in Hapkido, a form of Tae Kwon Do where David had earned a black belt. The Grand Master had taught David a series of body rolls that could be used to protect internal organs when competing in martial arts. As his body changed direction at the end of the 150 feet fall and he started to tumble, David mustered the strength to deploy the body rolls taught to him by the Grand Master.
The fall was over. The tumbling had ended. His body was still. David knew he was injured badly. He could not move his lower extremities. Still, miraculously, he was alive. David yelled to a friend, “Call the helicopter!” In a matter of minutes, the helicopter arrived and the process of lifting David from Mount Baldy began. The emergency medical professionals worked quickly. David was transitioned to the trauma unit of San Bernardino Medical Center. The transition from the mountain to the trauma center took only one hour. During the transition, David could overhear voices, “He is not going to make it.” From this point forward, David would now need to become a mountain climber, applying his resilience, his passion, and his faith to regain his life.
David stayed a full three months of care in rehabilitation centers, including stays at renown facilities Saint Jude’s and Rancho Los Amigos. At the close of three months, David would discharge himself from rehabilitation so that he could take a more active role in his recovery. He had also discovered that the TENS units the doctors had attempted to treat him with were unsuccessful in reducing his pain. It was during this time that he began researching articles focused on the regeneration of nerve tissue. His research turned him towards magnetic therapy. Still, research and advancing his understanding was not enough. David needed a solution. He wanted to step away from his reliance on opiates, which managed to help him get through the day. David recognized that opiates could send him down a slippery slope…towards exclusive reliance on the pain medications and ultimately towards addiction.
The active role David assumed in his recovery resulted in a personalized product that he built for himself. The product took the form of a harness with bi-polar magnets distributed equally on each side of his spine. His pain relief was immediate. It did not go unnoticed…by David or the doctors overseeing his recovery at San Bernardino Medical Center. The doctors at SBMC could not believe his reported pain relief or the pace of his healing. The fusion of his bone was progressing at an unexpected rate. In treating himself, David was setting the foundation for a life’s work in treating others seeking pain relief.
With his health improving, this extreme skier was also motivated to return to playing with his kids. Incredibly, in the same year he was injured, he was back on the slopes in an adaptive mono-ski. He also enrolled in a weightlifting class at Irvine Valley College, a class designed for individuals with spinal cord injuries. And, at the encouragement of his mother, who enjoyed watching David play tennis during his time in high school, David began playing wheelchair tennis. Tennis would prove to be an important contributor to helping David express his love for people and his competitive spirit.
In 2009, David would suffer a second accident. This time David would fall 14’ after his elevator malfunctioned in his home. His chair buffered his impact, still he suffered a second SCI in his lower back and neck. The result was additional paralysis from his cervical fractures. For three months, David was required to lay flat on his back. This was followed by another three months of rehabilitation as in incomplete quadriplegic. Quadrabloc again became his primary source to reduce pain and help recovery rate.
After dedicating six months to rehabilitation following his second injury, David returned to tennis. With his kids older, David could dedicate more attention to the game. As you would expect, David attacked tennis with the intensity he attacks the slopes. David would rise to the number 9 ranked wheelchair tennis player in the world. He would also go on to participate in the double master series which is limited to the top four doubles teams in the world.
So, what about that foundation in medical products that David established with the harness and the bi-polar magnets? Following his first accident, David started a durable medical equipment company dedicated to helping those with spinal cord injury. He also continued to research the role of magnets in pain relief and tissue regeneration. In the late 90s, his work led him to Vanderbilt University where a physician by the name of Dr. Brad Worthington was overseeing the university’s research program dedicated to quadrapolar magnets and their role in pain management. The relationship ultimately led David to developing the products for the Magnabloc, a quadrapolar neuro magnet that served as the predecessor to Quadrabloc. And, if you watching closely as David climbed the world ranking in tennis, you could see that David was using Quadrabloc to ward off pain during his matches. Quadrabloc was always his playing partner and was always placed discreetly between his lower back and wheelchair seat.
Thankfully the story doesn’t stop there!
Today, David is overseeing the production of the Quadrabloc product portfolio. His great love for helping those in pain and his deep desire for best-in-class product design is being exercised today with his work with Quadrabloc. David’s spirit is literally stamped, woven and sealed into every product that leaves the Quadrabloc distribution center.
So, I think you will understand. When we considered the possibilities for our first Quadrabloc Hero, there was little doubt who would be first. David Buck had to be the first hero. He has inspired so many to continue to reach for all life has to offer regardless of your situation with a spirit of courage, humility and a love for others.
David, Thank you for all you do for Team Quadrabloc and thank you for your deep commitment to helping others!
Are you ready to give your pain to Quadrabloc?