MDJ | Introducing: Emerson


Hi Everyone, this is Emerson. I want to thank you all for making me feel so welcome and for being such an engaging and supportive community, you rock! Skate School has been a fun place for me to challenge myself physically, and make new friends and connections. I got involved through Jodi, my wife, and it’s so great for us to do something we both enjoy in the community, it makes us stronger, together. Sorry, cheesy, I know. I went to a bunch of practices with Jodi when she started Skate School in October. I thought it looked wicked fun and I joined up for Skate School 2 as soon as we could afford another full set of gear - I started on super cheap pads and realized after the first week that saving money isn’t worth destroying your knees.


My Goal in derby is to be an official with KVRD and a pro-fish-ent skater. For medical reasons I won’t be playing derby even with a men’s league. If you see me colliding with another skater, be assured it is not intentional, contact is not my goal. I have asthma and severe congenital scoliosis that affects my breathing and causes chronic pain that has worsened over the years and I had a full spinal fusion in 2013. I disclose this to you all because I would like you to know that there are no limits except those you set for yourselves, and I would like others to see how empowering this sport can be. Years before my surgery I actively skateboarded and cycled, but my physical limitations always kept me from participating in team sports. Since I had surgery, cycling, skateboarding, and even walking have become an immense challenge for me. Since my spine is fused, I can’t bend or twist, and running or jumping causes me a lot of pain.


Wheels are amazing. I have experienced being confined to a wheelchair, and I have always been obsessed with going fast. Wheels are liberating, they make it possible for me to fly through the air unhindered, it’s amazing what wheels can do. I have been through extensive physical therapy, and as anyone who has had PT will tell you, doing the exercises at home is tough, nobody wants to do it. It’s tough to take on the burden of your personal physical and mental health and push yourself to improve. We all have different limitations, I set limits for myself so I don’t get hurt too bad and sometimes I don’t follow them. KVRD Skate School is an environment where I feel compelled to challenge myself and improve. I leave sore and tired, and wake up the next day with aches and pains all over, but I am so excited every week to come back. The exercises we do force me to engage muscles and parts of my body in ways that over time will reduce the amount of pain I experience, that’s therapeutic. The community at KVRD is one that I want to keep coming back to, it’s a safe space where I set the bar for myself every week and I don’t feel judged by anyone else. Since Skate School began I have enjoyed getting to know my fellow skaters, the lessons have been challenging, I fell down a lot. I have learned a lot, thanks trainers! Thank you all for taking the time to read this. See you on the track!


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Emerson Cobourn

If anyone wants to contact me to talk about disabilities, chronic pain, or pain management, please message me on Facebook or email me

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