In 1996, Jason Regier, ’04, sped up a highway route from Denver, CO, to Corvallis, OR, enduring a violent collision that rerouted his entire life. Regier, an Oregon State senior and D1 soccer athlete, had been at the top of his game with a successful athletic record, nearing graduation, and a hopeful career in the creative arts. His accident stripped the use of much of his body from the neck down. Regier maintained lucidity for the entirety of the accident, presenting a ruthless aftermath of emotional and physical hurdles, but his internal drive couldn’t be curbed.
The Road Forward
Regier’s new limitations provided a catalyst to hone his mental tenacity. He said that the bodily struggle was evident, but true hell was in the mind. He attributed much of his recovery to the support of family and friends, but Regier said that his inner resolve steered his way forward. He regained his hunger for sport after an introduction to wheelchair rugby or “quad rugby.” As an elite competitor in his college career, the mental grit of athletics remained despite his physical restrictions. It prepared him for what some in the sport called “murderball,” given its aggressive elements. Regier took to the gym to test his new physical state when recruited by one of the sport’s most recognized ruggers, Brad Mikkellson, an American player who brought the sport from Canada to the U.S. in the 1970s. The milestones were incremental, but Regier regained enough strength to take to the court after a while. Joining the rugger ranks of local Denver teams spurred a loftier goal: a slot on the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby team. Regier trained tirelessly and despite setbacks, earned his place and took gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A Jack of All Trades
Regier didn’t stop there; he had a calling to the court, the classroom, and behind the camera. Earning two CU Denver master’s degrees, an MS in Marketing and an MBA in Business with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship, he piggybacked on his undergraduate creative arts pursuits. He found a practical avenue for his “big picture” mindset and right-brained passions; CU Denver Business School’s programs allowed him to explore a variety of fields for a well-rounded career. “My degrees helped me shape marketing, branding, and outreach,” Regier said. He lauds his time at CU Denver for the close-knit community he built with professors (Regier offered a special shoutout to Jung Park, Executive MBA adjunct professor) and the added value of workforce-experienced peers in the classroom.
Regier put his educational pedal to the metal (and medal), using his degrees to promote quad rugby and entrepreneurial efforts. In 2017, the Paralympian accepted the role of head coach for Denmark’s national wheelchair rugby team and now splits time between the Nordic country and the U.S. Regier uses his leadership and entrepreneurial degrees as an executive coach for ExecOnline, Inc. and Torch as well as in various public speaking engagements. Regier also starred in and produced the 2006 award-winning film The Goal, which mirrored his life story.
With standout success in both rugby and a professional career, Regier is back in the game. He said, “I will continue executive coaching and trying to be a catalyst for leaders to make a positive difference in this world.” A tour de force in all he does, the CU Denver Business School is proud to have Regier in the impactful Lynx alumni community.