Abilities Expo LA 2014

The BadAss Sports crew will be present with a booth for three days at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles February 28 – March 2, 2014. This event is free to the public and you are invited to attend. “Abilities Expo is about bringing necessary products and services under one roof for the community of people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors and healthcare professionals.” Get exposed to workshops and new technologies and amazing people! Will you be there?

It’s our first year participating, and we are thrilled to be attending! Look for the BadAss Sports table location in the Abilities Expo Show Guide.

Abilities Expo 2014

Los Angeles Convention Center (West Hall A)

1201 South Figueroa Street • Los Angeles, CA 90015

Friday 11 AM – 5 PM • Saturday 11 AM – 5 PM • Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM

 

Abilities Expo

 

What is Abilities Exp like? Check out last years event:

Hi, I’m Kristen, Assistant Manager

Hi, I’m Kristen and I was born in Aspen, Colorado. Since birth I’ve had cerebral palsy, at the age of two I had my first seizure. Through out my school years I was always enrolled in Special Education classes to help me learn and understand better about everyday living. It was frustrating at times because I looked at the students that were in normal classes and I knew I didn’t have that much of a learning disability. So it really upset me that I was in Special Ed all 4 years.

After high school, my mom enrolled me into the Irvine Adult Transition Program. Just like high school, I was with people whose disabilities were worse than mine. All the years I was there, I felt like they looked up to me, because to them I was normal. The program was also frustrating, because I was being taught things I already knew. But the program taught me to love the people that were struggling more than I was.

I was having three to five seizures per week in school and outside of school. It was really embarrassing when I was in high school because everyone would look at me and god only knows what they were thinking. I’ve taken several different medications in the past. Some of them controlled my seizures but the side affects were annoying. I’m now only on one medication, I used to be on five different ones but in 2005 I had brain surgery. That was a interesting experience for me and my family.

For the first nine days in the hospital I was just laying there with nurses and doctors coming in and out checking on me. Finally they took me into a room where I was put to sleep. When I went into the room the time was 2:00 PM and when I came out it
was 6:00 PM. It only felt 10 minutes to me. After they woke me up I had a enormous pounding headache. I had that headache for 2 weeks straight with double vision the whole time. On the bright side I now only have three to five seizures a year and it doesn’t effect me as much. Surprisingly I got my drivers license at one point in my life, but it only lasted for a week, because I crashed in a pole at night. Other then only being on one medication, I have a Vagus Nerve Stimulater (VNS). Which helps control my seizures, and I love it. The only thing that annoys me is the constant tension I get in my neck. But I’m used to it now and it’s worth to deal with because whenever I have a seizure I love it.

Living on my own with a roommate is great. Knowing how it feels be a individual without my parents help, feels wonderful. Although I did enjoy going back and forth to my dads house to my mom’s house for awhile but eventually I got sick of living with
them and that’s when I got a place in Tustin. I’m living in an area where everything is in walking distance. So it’s easy for me to go places and get things without asking someone to drive me there, especially Starbucks.

Getting a job hasn’t been very successful for me. I have had jobs in the past but they were from in the program I went through. Although I did get the job at Diedrich Coffee myself, which was really exciting, but it only lasted 10 months. Other then that I’ve always had a job-coach walking around following me the whole time I was working. For me Bad Ass Sports has been a incredible experience, being their Assistant Manager is a great feeling. I love that my dad thought of starting a company knowing I was the inspiration of starting it. I finally have a steady job.

working at bad ass sports

SPECIAL NEEDS – WE ALL HAVE THEM

Special Needs - We All Have Them

Well my daughter Isn’t a child anymore, but a beautiful 29 year old.
Kristen was born with epilepsy and left hemiplegia and I’ll be honest the last 29 years has been DIFFERENT. There has been a lot of crying and setbacks but also a lot of laughter and moments of triumph such as the time when she first rode a bike with special straps for her weak left foot, of course we also cried that day out of joy. I’m sure the bike technology is far more advanced these days. As this is my first blog and as there are so many things that Kristen and the family have gone through I thought it would be a good idea to talk about how we came to start Bad Ass Sports and keep the early escapades for future blogs.

 

Kristen

Kristen

 

We all have special needs but its a fact that some are more special than others. Having epilepsy and a physical weakness makes some of the stuff that we take for granted a little more frustrating like putting on socks, cutting an apple, taking a shower and somethings that are not in the picture at the moment, like driving, the one thing Kristen hungers to do. Finding work has also been a chore. Although Kristen has applied and tried various employment opportunities like secretary, stocking goods at a large department store and bagging at a local supermarket, for various reasons it did not work out. I am an Architect by profession and because of the sluggish economy business has been slow, so after having a few beers one night, I decided to start a clothing company that would give my daughter meaningful work. A client an educated man showed me an ad for a ceiling fan in an architectural magazine called “Big Ass Fans” and he got a kick out of the ad and It turned out it was the use of the word “Ass” . So after drinking a few beers I decided the company name was going to be “Bad Ass Sports”. My wife being from the South and if you’ve ever been to the South you will know its not whether you go to church or not but what church you go to. So needless to say she didn’t like the name, but God bless her she has changed her mind. After sleeping on the idea, the next day I decided to investigate the possibility. One of my architectural teachers always emphasized the necessity of having a big idea, so what was the big idea for Bad Ass Sports. It was going to be company that would hire people with special needs to produce a quality American made (where possible) product, that would also benefit special needs sports. I liked the big idea so I went about doing my due diligence, trademarking the name and putting together the business side. One element that kept me awake at night was the fact that someone is cyber sitting the .com site and wants lot of money for it, but I’ve just kept on going with .org and I think it will be fine. The other important piece to the “Bad Ass Sports” story is the partnership with the Special Olympics the world’s largest movement of inclusion and respect.
And my mother said nothing good would come from drinking beer.