Velette Britt is an Air Force Veteran and QL+ Challenger working with student engineers at Cal Poly and Colorado School of Mines. Velette served in the United States Air Force from May of 2007 to July of 2016 as a Dental Lab Technician.
In August of 2015, Velette was riding her mountain bike in Leadville, Colorado. She attempted to ride down a very technical, sandy, and steep descent and fell approximately 60 feet. As a result of this crash, she suffered a spinal cord injury and a traumatic brain injury. Velette was rendered unconscious from the crash and had to be evacuated via air ambulance to a hospital in Denver. Velette is now in a wheelchair and paralyzed from the waist down.
After the accident, the most significant hurdle she had to overcome was accepting that her life wasn’t over because of what happened, it was different. Velette explains, “All that truly changed is how I get around, and with the right motivation, I was able to relearn how to do that.” Now, she races her hand cycle and enjoys skiing. She also reads, and is a junior in college.
Velette’s favorite quote is from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” This quote fits nicely with her philosophy on life. “Right before trying something difficult, I always say to myself, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ I just have to have a little faith to try. Or, be enough of an idiot to try and succeed.” To prove this point, Velette is training to try out for the Warrior Games and plans to compete in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
Velette and QL+ students from Cal Poly and Colorado School of Mines are working on a Wheelchair Curb Navigation Device to allow her to safely and confidently traverse curbs. She is also working with QL+ students from Colorado School of Mines on comfortable hand grips for her hand cycle that will protect her hands from the elements.