Meet The Co-Captains

TeamUP Co-Captain

Darren Smith

Click Here For Quick Facts

LIVES IN Camas, Washington
CURRENTLY WORKING AS A District Sales Manager of the Northwest Territory
DEVELOPED FOOT DROP AS A RESULT OF an incomplete spinal cord injury during a surgical procedure
CURRENTLY WEARS the Allard ToeOFF® FLOW 2 ½ with ComfortKIT™
FAVORITE SAYING IS “Don’t tell me I can’t do something because I will try it, just to prove you wrong.”
FUN FACT: When I was in the Coast Guard, I got seasick almost every patrol

In November of 2002, I had a spinal cord injury during a surgical procedure and as a result, I have residual weakness in my left leg, including foot drop. During the summer of 2002, I took up the sport of triathlon. During that time, training for endurance racing, I had lost a lot of body fat and a soft tissue mass on my back (called a hemangioma). I went to a specialist and underwent a procedure that would essentially cause the mass to die off. That didn’t work. I woke up completely paralyzed on the left side and I lost all feeling on the right, below my waist. In the next few months, I learned to walk again and was given an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) that did not fit in any shoes I had and was very clunky. I hated that brace, so I didn’t use it.

About a year later my life was almost back to normal except for the foot drop. I decided to train for the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) and even though I couldn’t run I had a good coach that made my program manageable. After this, triathlon became my life. I competed in three triathlons in 2005. During all those races I used an ankle brace. It was helpful for lateral stability, which prevented my ankle from breaking, but I still tripped a lot while racing and training.

While competing in XTERRA USAI met Craig Vogtsberger who was also a disabled athlete and experiencing the same type of disabilities that I had. After the race I spoke to him about the brace that he was using. Later he let me try it—an Allard BlueROCKER—and I was completely hooked. This thing was amazing!! Not only was it helpful in preventing tripping, it also added a little spring to my running gait.

When I was selected to represent Canada at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships I knew that I wanted an Allard BlueROCKER of my own. After receiving and competing with it, I had my best race ever and I attribute much of the credit to my new brace.

My weakness has lessened over the years and in 2014 I tried the ToeOFF 2.0 at a 5K in North Carolina and loved it. The flexibility of this brace is just what I need and I am looking forward to competing far into the future.

Join the TeamUP Community

By uniting as a team, we can shine a light on Foot Drop and the conditions that lead to it. Here’s why you should join our movement:


Get unique Get Back UP Today goodies to show off your support


Share your story with thousands of members and connect with new friends


Receive monthly updates, inspiring stories and helpful tips


*We will never share your information with 3rd parties.