Hometown: Austin, Texas
Birthplace: Makahalau, Hawaii
Formerly Stationed: Naval Base San Diego
Branch of Service: Navy
Status: Medically Retired Injury
Injury Date: 2003
Injury: TBI, PTSD, Nerve Damage, Hip, Shoulder, Leg, Knee and Back damage.
“This ride takes the focus off of what we can’t do and shifts it to what we can. I am looking forward to pushing the limits, just because I was injured it doesn’t mean that I have to sit at home while life happens.” – Nicolette Maroulis
It’s been eight years since 33 year-old Nicolette Maroulis of Austin, Texas was injured while serving as a K9 Handler in the Navy. The Master at Arms second class spent 3-1/2 years in a wheelchair not knowing if she would ever be able to walk again, but she was determined to try.
With the support of her husband, the Hawaiian native pushed herself physically and mentally through multiple rounds of surgery and intensive physical therapy. And gradually, she relearned how to walk.
Nicolette constantly pushes her limits, and defies expectations – both her own and others. It was with this same intensity that Nicolette tried hand cycling for the first time in early 2010 and immediately fell in love with it. “I find tremendous freedom in cycling,” she says. In May 2010, she rode with other American heroes from San Francisco to Virginia Beach on the 63 day, 4,000 mile journey from Sea to Shining Sea for World T.E.A.M. Sports. In October 2010, she participated in the successful Soldiers to the Summit climb in Nepal.
Accepted on the U.S. Paralympic Rowing Team, she hopes to become an elite athlete during her journey competing in various sports.
Nicolette began studying kinesiology in hopes of understanding what was happening to her own body. With fascination, she observed how physical therapy transformed atrophied muscles and helped her surpass the goals others had set for her recovery. She is now pursuing a degree in Sports and Health Sciences and plans to use her degree to help other injured veterans in their recovery.
In 2012, Nicolette began serving as the Executive Director of the Texas non-profit, Summit International Development Group, providing motivation and training for veterans and first responders.