Zane Volkmann: Brain injury changed his life, but not his determination

Photo of Zane putting bridle on mule

Photo: University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

It’s hard to keep Zane Volkmann out of the saddle; even a brain injury and broken back couldn’t keep him there for long. In 2012, just before his senior year in high school, the young horse trainer from New Franklin, Missouri, fell nine feet onto his head while riding at a livestock center. The impact resulted in three brain bleeds and other injuries, which kept him off horseback for six months – “the longest six months of my life,” he says.

The road to recovery wasn’t easy and included such setbacks as memory loss, but Missouri AgrAbility was there to help Zane and his family from the start. After graduating from high school on schedule (and fifth in his class), he moved on to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, where he recently completed his third year. AgrAbility assisted Zane in obtaining funding from Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation to help defray his college expenses and worked with him on business planning for his horse training and farrier enterprises.

“AgrAbility helps you in every aspect of your injury,” Zane says. “They drive me forward. Just because you have a brain injury, it doesn’t mean you can’t perform at your full potential.”

Zane is also using his traumatic experience to benefit others. Through events like University of Missouri Extension safety expos, he shares with other riders about the importance of wearing helmets while on horseback.