Kiel Eigen has taken his share of life’s hits. Despite his disability, his resilience is stronger than ever. Growing up in Old Forge, Pa., with his parents, Keith and Kandi, and his older brother, Jared, Kiel learned early on that hard work and determination are the keys to success.
On September 12, 2006, at just 14 years old, Kiel played in his first freshman football game. A childhood athlete, he saw it as the start of a long high school and college pursuit. However, during into the game, a typical tackle turned tragic. After landing on the turf, Kiel couldn’t move. Kiel was air-lifted to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where doctors performed surgery to fuse his C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae together. Kiel spent 13 days in intensive care before being transferred to Allied Services’ in-patient facility located in Scranton, Pa. He was hospitalized for 47 days and continued his therapy, five days a week, for two more years. Kiel was left a C5 quadriplegic, requiring a power wheelchair for the rest of his life.
His disability has not stop Kiel. He graduated high school with honors, then went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree from King’s College. Allied Services awarded him the Patricia Foy Memorial Award for Courage. Now an employee and consumer advocate for Quantum Rehab, Kiel uses the Edge 3 Power Wheelchair with 4.5 mph iLevel®. With the independence that his iLevel Power Wheelchair gives him, Kiel travels the country, making appearances at consumer expos and events. He enjoys meeting people and delivering his message of hope and determination.
Closer to home, Kiel is extremely active in his local community. He has served as a keynote speaker for universities, conferences and other events. He is a member of the Lackawanna County Disability Action Committee, which advises policy makers on accessibility of county facilities. The committee also develops programs for people with disabilities, promoting a more inclusive community. Kiel also hosted an hour-long webinar titled “Living with SCI: Technology, Therapy and Trends.” The webinar was designed to help those living with a spinal cord injury, as well as their caregivers and family members.
In his free time, Kiel enjoys lifting, football and spending time with his fiancé, family and friends. He enjoys living life to the fullest and encourages others to do the same, regardless of their circumstances.