Team Xtreme Abilities



My name is John Vail I am a specialist in the United States Army. My MOS is 31B Military Police. I joined the Army in January of 2006. I was in an accident overseas that left me paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.

I was on a normal route when the driver turned too sharp while going too fast causing the up-armour Hummv to flip ejecting me from the passenger door and then the vehicle came to rest on top of me causing my vertebrae to explode on impact. My vitals dropped and I died twice during a plane ride to Germany to have my surgery.

The only way to describe it was it felt like my fingertips were holding on to heaven and my toes dangling in hell.

Sounds strange which it was but very unsettling which cause me to fight and let adrenaline overcome all. Of course I prayed. My life was changed forever on that night...mentally and physically. I am now a truly happy person who can see the good side in anything and anyone.

I can only imagine my life and how it would have been if I was never injured. I don’t think I would be half the man I am today and for that I am proud.

I am part of a charity called Heart Strings for Heroes and we give guitars to wounded soldiers and marines. It sounds simple but what we do is find the soldier to honor and we throw a concert.

Fill the place full of people who are there to support that soldier then in the middle of the show bring him or her up on stage and present them with a guitar while a roaring crowd sounds off for that’s an amazing feeling and I know because I was the first recipient.

That’s why I’m so passionate about it.

I left there knowing 100% that I was loved and respected for my sacrifice.

We believe in music therapy and it can definitely heal the mind and body. Fighting depression and PTSD are hard but occupying the mind with music that you love does amazing things. Also, it’s a goal setting learning tool.

Everyday wake up and set the goal of what you want to learn to play. And I promise you will never run out of music. Ok that’s a little about me and who I am.

Now a little about wheelchairs.

When picking your first wheelchair while lying in a hospital bed you have no idea what it’s like to live in a chair.

No idea what you need out of a chair.

Nobody can until they live in one day to day....impossible.  That’s what happened to me.

I have learned that weight and durability are key. Most chairs are all bolted together with bolt-on accessories.

Every ounce counts and when a chair has 200 bolts it adds up. Mike box wheelchairs are made to eliminate unnecessary weight. They are welded together in one piece, no bolted together junk.

Every single chair is different, with that being because every person and their needs are different. They are built to your body which brings me to my next point. Comfort.

Most people can’t sit all day 24/7 in a chair and I do. I can’t feel my legs but my back takes a beating and a uncomfortable chair causes bad posture and overtime can cause even more problems.

A paraplegics new legs are shoulders. If you tear up your shoulders you’re done.

Since the box chair is made custom to the person the distance from the shoulder to the hand rim is perfect eliminating the reaching into an unnatural position which causes unwanted strain and easy fatigue. Part of comfort is the mike box chairs are the suspension....there is no other chairs like it.

They have small suspension that absorbs all the shock and takes away all the bumpy ride...and that means when rolling on a sidewalk my feet won’t rattle off and chew my toes up...ouch even though I can’t feel it haha.

Last but not least is the promise. You outgrow or break a Mike Box Chair it is replaced no questions asked....for life.