Hailed as an inspiration for the way he lived his life after a high-school football injury left him paralyzed until his death this spring at age 30, Rob Komosa's legacy continues through the Gridiron Alliance.
The charity, which recently formed relationships with other national charities, wants to find new homes for Komosa's special van, his two high-tech wheelchairs and other equipment.
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"It's right to our mission to pay it forward, and that's what Rob would want," said Don Grossnickle, a Catholic deacon from Arlington Heights who became a good friend of the Rolling Meadows teenager in the wake of the injury.
He helped founding of the not-for-profit Gridiron Alliance to assist Komosa and others with catastrophic injuries. Komosa's mother, Barbara Komosa, and his sister, Ann Phister, have said they want the equipment to help others in need, Grossnickle added.
While Komosa's bed soon should be on its way to another paralyzed athlete, Grossnickle says he hasn't found a suitable recipient for the van, which has about 95,000 miles on it, or the wheelchairs, which were custom-made to fit Komosa's body.
"I'm emotionally attached to these wheelchairs, and we're about ready to put them on the curb," Grossnickle says. "That's a heartache for me. There has to be somebody who wants these chairs."