“My life changed in a second. At the age of 23 I was like a child again, I needed everything. It took me three long years to be able to learn to do the normal things on my own again: eating, dressing, wash … But then I realized that to be happy I had to give everything I have to everyone who has the same problems, I had learned and passed on my experience.Today I am happy to be able to do it and especially to be able to give energy and fun to others, and to teach those who live my own experience to “take out” their potential. “
Mattia Cattapan, born in Padua in 1990, explains it in a very simple way and with a voice that today also transmits a lot of enthusiasm and energy over the phone. But it must not have been easy for him to overcome the 2013 motorcycle accident in an enduro country race in Sacile (Pordenone): fracture of the fourth and fifth dorsal vertebrae, spinal cord injury. “Ten days in intensive care, eight months of rehabilitation, first in Vicenza and then in Milan. I’ve always been passionate about engines and I haven’t lost my passion. When I had the accident I felt abandoned on my own, I tried to make sense of what had happened to me. After three years as a person with a disability, I started to pursue my dreams again, going back to racing, ”he said.
Helped by great determination, he has now become Mattia Cattapan the first athlete with a disability in Italy to compete against athletes without problems in the Kart Cros categorys. He also performed at the Eicma, at the Arena 58 event in Misano during the Moto GP Grand Prix and was a 1000 Miglia Witness for a barrier-free mobility.
His experience and love of motoring led him to pursue an inclusion project to help other boys and girls in the same condition. That’s how he was born CROSSROADS, a non-profit association that offers people with disabilities a range of activities aimed at sharing, entertainment, independence and sport. One of the missions of CROSSabili is to show that disability should not be seen only as a limit. And among the activities promoted is the “No barriers” project., with concrete solutions to improve daily life. “For a person with a disability, carrying out simple actions can become a real challenge. This is because we often lack the knowledge of some tricks that can make life easier. With our project, tools are made available that can improve the daily lives of people who experience disability first hand ”, explains Mattia Cattapan, who also takes part in numerous events to make their experience and association known.
The last one is “Mask to mount”, the solidarity caravan that combines sport, entertainment and inclusion dedicated to the world of disability. A journey of 3,500 kilometers from north to south of Italy that touches 14 regions: it begins on June 6 from Belluno and ends on June 19 in Trento. At each stage of this 2022 tour there will be performances by international freestyle motocross ace Alvaro Dal Farra and Mattia Cattapan. An hour of adrenaline rush: wheels on the bike, adrift on the “E-Motion – Drive” – a special motocross adapted for wheelchair users – ramp jumps, stunts, moments of “Mototherapy” that involve citizenship and offer many emotions and smiles, often the best medicine for those who have to deal with disability every day in a world that is not always very inclusive and those who, especially in the last two years, have been more alone. , with little chance of knowing the outside world. The adventure was born in 2020, just after the first very hard confinement, based on an idea of Nicola Barchetsocial entrepreneur, with the aim of giving 50,000 masks and a moment of joy and sharing to those who had been most affected by the pandemic.
After this marathon, the agenda of the CROSSabili association is full of appointments at least until October. “We organize about sixty initiatives every year behind closed doors, where we show with facts that it is possible to live in an inclusive way, go on vacation and improve the daily lives of people with disabilities every day,” recalls Mattia Cattapan.
And that is, in short, the CROSSabili program: “Energy is gasoline. The heart is the engine: getting involved, integrating and helping is the mission. Freedom and autonomy are the wings. Madness is no limit. There is no diversity in the dream. You’re the key, help me help! “How not to answer: Yes?