In 1999, 22-year-old Kari Miller, a member of the US military, was celebrating the news that she was eligible to enroll in officer candidate school with friends, when a drunk driver hit the car she was a passenger in at 80 mph. Kari awoke to find herself pinned inside the car with her legs crushed between the passenger-side dashboard and a telephone pole. Drifting in and out of consciousness, Paramedics worked to extract her from the car. Kari remembers telling them, "You can cut my legs off, I'll forgive you, just get me out of here."
When she awoke in the hospital, she motioned for something to write one. She wrote: "I know I don't have my legs. Don't be sad. I'll be OK.”
After she was released from the hospital Kari used a wheelchair while a prosthetics team worked to build her legs. A friend of her family suggested that Kari try wheelchair basketball. Kari learned a new way to continue to play her favorite sport. She decided to try out for the U.S. Paralympic team, but with the frame of a 5’4” women, she struggled against the much taller women, and didn’t make the team.
Kari was devastated and planned to give up on athletics altogether until a friend suggested she try sitting volleyball, a sport she had never played. Her first attempt at making the US Paralympic team she didn’t make it, but after years of hard work, she made the team and went on to win a silver medal in the 2008 Paralympics. Kari recently represented Team USA in the 2012 Paralympic games, where they won the silver medal. Learn more about the USA Sitting Volleyball Team.
Kari also works with the Paralympic Military Program at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where, among other things, she teaches wounded soldiers how to use sports in their recovery.
Kari is such an inspiration to so many injured victims and we are honored to have her as part of her MADD family. MADD would like to congratulate Kari and Team USA for their success at the 2012 Paralympic games.