Sara Gillers, with part of her skull missing, after a cinder block sized rock fell on her while belaying.
Today we are honored to share Sara Gillers’ story. We hope that you find her words and advice as inspiring as we did.
I feel stupid. I feel stupid in a way that I can’t recover from. I was an English major at Columbia University, I got A’s – not always, but there were a few – and now it’s difficult for me to even write my thoughts down. It wasn’t always that way.
In a world where people wear helmets for so many sports, why do the majority of sport climbers climb without a helmet? Perhaps more importantly, why do sport climbers refuse to wear helmets and sometimes chastise those who do? Today, not many people bike, ski or snowboard without a helmet. Times have changed from where they were just ten years ago. But why do sport climbers still climb without one?
I did not always climb with a helmet, and my life changed forever when a large block of rock fell on my head. The resulting traumatic brain injury almost killed me. Even though it happened six and a half years ago, I deal with the effects of that accident everyday. Accidents happen. And what happened to me does not have to happen to you. I am sharing my experience to remind climbers how important that silly looking “brain bucket” is. I have spoken about the facts of the accident multiple times, but right now I want to talk about how I still feel the effects of a decision I made when I was 26. A decision that is still hurting me at 32 and that I will be feeling the effects of for the rest of my life.