Elite Maine skydiver continues to heal after surviving a near fatal accident
By Melissa Falcone- Wednesday, July 28, 2021
One Maine resident is an elite skydiver and holds a Guinness World Record for skydiving, but you may be surprised to know that the most harrowing situation he’s ever been through actually happened on the ground, and nearly cost him his life.
Matthew Gagne is a Guinness World Record holder for the most forward flips in a wind tunnel in a single minute.
“Skydiving was not only my number one hobby, but it became my job and most of my friends are skydivers. It was my golden ticket to take over the world and that was all taken by the actions of another,” he said.
Gagne tells his story as he remembers vividly. He said it’s a miracle to be alive to talk about his beloved sport until just a few years ago when that all changed when he was involved in what was almost a fatal car accident
“We launch off a sand dune, the car is vertical, and rolls towards the driver side and comes to a complete dead stop on the roof…”
He said the reality of the situation really hit him hard, “the first thing I thought was I wouldn’t be able to walk again and my sky-diving career is over,” he said.
Gagne said the car was going almost 90 miles an hour and continued to roll, and he felt like he barely survived.
“I’m buried in the sand upside town, seat belted in, suffocating in the sand and I’m fully conscious. I can hear the driver already crawled out of the vehicle and I can hear him screaming and crying hysterically,” he said.
Gagne said this led the medical team to make one crucial life or death decision.
“They had to make a decision, move a potential spinal cord injury or leave me to suffocate and die right there in the sand,” he said.
The medical team transported him to the hospital where they installed a metal halo device around his head.
“I had severe nerve damage from my neck to my arms. I broke many bones, nothing came close to the nerve pain I experienced,” he said.
He was afraid he could never skydive again but this hardship led him to begin healing with his C.B.D company called Flock. Gagne said he is now healing and recovering in Maine.
“There is a great quote that I like, fault is in the past, responsibility is in the future, it’s about the individual pursuit,” said Gagne.
7 Best CBD Products of the Summer
CBD products have become a massively popular supplement over the past seven years, with sales increasing by an astounding 1395% (you read that correctly). Because of the wide-ranging health benefits and numerous ways you can enjoy CBD, this versatile product has become a staple in medicine cabinets around the world.
Because of the significant number of companies that produce CBD in various forms, the selection can feel overwhelming. Which one is right for you? Considering different criteria such as uses, types, and the companies behind each brand, here are the 7 best CBD products of the summer
Flock Goods Day Drops
Flock Goods specializes in CBD for people with active lifestyles, promoting holistic alternatives to anxiety and pain management. Their Day Drops are vegan and contain all non-GMO ingredients, like rich hemp extract, organic MCT coconut oil, and natural terpenes to boost energy and healing.
Flock Goods isn’t just a CBD brand; it’s a community and way of life. Through CBD and online resources, they nurture all forms of wellness, including physical, mental, nutritional, lifestyle, and rest. Striving to educate, have fun and quench your thirst for adventure, they have attracted an online community of “Flockers.” Tenacious in spirit, Flockers enhance their lives through a collective model approach to healthy living.
Matthew, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
This company was born from my journey through rehabilitation. It’s my life and the lessons learned through recovery, personified in a brand. In 2014 while living and working in Dubai as a professional wind tunnel flyer and skydiver I was a passenger in a serious car accident. The crash ripped my spine in two. In total, I sustained ten fractures and a full subluxation at the c5+ c6 level leaving me internally decapitated
The injury happened just four days before I was scheduled to leave Dubai to join a full-time, fully sponsored skydiving team. Throughout the course of my recovery, I was heavily prescribed to narcotics to help manage my pain, but I knew I could do better for my body. I refused to have to resort to taking pills every day, so I started adding CBD to my daily regimen and it completely changed my quality of life for the better. I finally found a holistic, healthy way to help mitigate my discomfort and I used all of my products long before distributing them to the masses.
Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve been in business for a little over a year- to say I’ve learned a lot would be a massive under statement. In addition to the typical hurdles business owners in the CBD space face like merchant processing, insurance, sourcing, lab testing, and marketing and sales. I’ve had to teach myself an entirely new set of “skills”. Coming from a background in skydiving, I was not a copywriter, graphic artist, website builder, or social media expert, but to date I’ve worn all of these hats. Learning to switch from the executive mindset to that of a true Entrepreneur has been my most recent realization and I’m now working to build my team.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Flock Goods is a nutraceutical company that specializes in CBD for the active. We are a lifestyle enhancement brand based around active living, action sports, and personal development. We promote healthy lifestyle modalities, nutrition and supplementation. Flock is a noun, it describes our community. It’s a verb and describes how we move together.
We consider ourselves so much more than just a “CBD brand” Our aim is to empower others to live their best, boldest, and healthiest lives. One of our slogans is “Fuel your passion, fuel your ideas, transform your world!” We believe in the power of healthy people who are committed to self-improvement, community care, and making the world a more amazing place.
Because this cause is so dear to my heart, for every product sold Flock Goods gives back $1 to Spinal Cord Injury Survivors, so that they may have access to healthy alternatives without the financial burden.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, I believe San Diego is a great city for a business like mine. There are so many amazing people/ other companies to collaborate with and learn from. I feel that, like anywhere, there are pros and cons to someone just starting out here because there is a lot of competition. However, in an industry slated for such massive growth, there is room for everyone. If you’re able to produce a quality, unique product, and have a story to show your heart, you’ll stand out from the crowd!
This is exactly what happened to Matthew Gagne. In 2014, while living and working in Dubai, Gagne was involved in a single-vehicle car wreck, instantly taking him from a professional skydiver with a budding career to a spinal injury survivor.
From Death’s Door To Grow Room Floor
“I suffered 10 fractures to my cervical and thoracic vertebrae as well as a full subluxation at the C5/C6 level,” says Gagne. “In other words, I broke my neck and was internally decapitated. I was struggling physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, as well as financially. The internal and external battles were real and the stress of not knowing was almost unbearable.”
With a sleek titanium cage installed in his neck, as well as bulging discs both above and below the fusion, pain and discomfort became a part of daily life for Gagne. That is, at least until he made the conscious choice to not allow that pain to control his life. As a seasoned skydiver, Gagne was no stranger to facing fear head-on, or to the trade-off of “risk vs. reward”. According to Gagne, it was this same mindset that not only helped him kickstart his recovery to overcome his injury, it also gave him the confidence to use the tools he used during that recovery to help others regain control of their lives.
CBD Helped Me Help Myself
In April of 2018, nearly four years after his life-threatening injury, Gagne founded Flock Goods: a nutritional enhancement brand that offers a line of CBD-based nutraceutical products that help nourish and strengthen the body’s physical building blocks. Each of Flock’s all-natural CBD products is designed to help those who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, mental fog, and more to improve their mental health, physical fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle along the road to recovery. These aspects, along with that of the recovery journey itself, make up what Gagne refers to as the “Five Finger Framework” – the fundamental factors in which Flock Good’s core values and philosophy is rooted in.
“Pain is not only humbling – it’s the best teacher I’ve ever had,” says Gagne. “The layers of healing are complex, but with self-empathy and a strong, conscious effort, you can find true understanding, perspective, and patience.”
Indeed, healing is often a long and tumultuous process. Though the events we endure that cause our bodies and minds pain and trauma are inherently subjective at the individual level, the process of healing is not. As such, it should never be undertaken alone. Gagne stresses the importance of this, too, citing that the road to recovery since his life-changing accident would have been impossible to walk by himself.
Strong As FLOCK
In his founding of Flock Goods, Gagne has helped to create a community that perfectly matches the definition of the name. Chasing dreams, facing fears, and overcoming adversity in spite of our limitations are all terrifying to think about doing alone. Together, however, any obstacle truly can be overcome.
“I consider myself extremely lucky,” Gagne continues, “which is one of the reasons why I feel so compelled to give back to others. I didn’t get to where I am by myself. It started with a healthy mindset, was aided with proper nutrition, and I was lifted up by a community of others when I needed it the most.”
Nearly seven years following his horrific accident, Gagne is proud to say that no one “has any idea” about it until they see the scars for themselves.
By Will Keever - Special To Cannabis Culture on
“I discovered CBD because I was looking for a list of alternatives to taking pain meds as a spinal cord injury survivor,” says Matthew Gagne, founder of Flock Goods. Gagne had his life changed after a car accident in Dubai left him with a neck broken in ten places.
In 2016 Gagne moved to San Diego, California and experimented with CBD and THC to manage his nerve and arthritic pain. “I still have stretch marks in my spinal cord,” says Gagne. “I was basically internally decapitated. So, I have a lot of nerve damage down both my arms and my hands, and [CBD] helped me tremendously.”
Gagne says nothing is a “cure-all” but as far as the studies backing it up in relation to pain relief from nerve damage, nothing really comes close, especially with substances that have little to no side effects.
Before the accident, Gagne was a professional skydiver and says CBD will be a game changer for high impact sports like skydiving and wind tunnel flying. “It’s going to absolutely help for longevity. There’s a lot of discussion of the beneficial effects of CBD and brain injuries, especially high doses immediately upon impact,” says Gagne. “So, athletes that are always getting injured have a natural substance that they can gravitate towards. It’s not a cure-all but it’s a great insulator to all of the impact they are putting upon themselves.”
Post-injury, Gagne still leads an active lifestyle. “It’s a constant battle of balancing that abuse on my body that definitely causes further damage and inflammation, and just trying to be preventative at the same time,” says Gagne who takes CBD, like any other supplement. He started at 25 milligrams a day and now takes between 400 and 800 milligrams a day.
While sourcing products in San Diego, Gagne was alarmed by the number of inconsistencies. Gagne says he would find a product that he liked and then he couldn’t find it again, products that didn’t work, and products that tasted horrible. “Through the sourcing, I decided I could probably do better and do right by people and stand behind the products.”
“To sell anything under the guise of medicinal benefit that was anything other, is really wrong. And it happens too much in this industry,” says Gagne. “And that’s a big part of why I incorporated and went into business for myself so we can do things the right way and for the right reasons.”
“Now we have momentum that I don’t plan on letting up, and it’s just moving forward aggressively in order to have a seat at the table amongst these gorillas that are coming in. You have all these large investors and big businesses that are spending literally millions of dollars of capital a quarter buying market share,” says Gagne “Their company’s not making money, but it’s a large investment group that can weather the storm and push out the small entrepreneur and the individuals who literally took it upon themselves to make enough noise and, and provide enough access, so people understood the benefit to create this industry and actually take it back.”
Gagne says the medicinal cannabis industry will most likely fracture into two different industries. One side will be pharmaceutical dominant, where all the different cannabinoids and terpenes will be isolated and put together for a desired effect. Variance in dosing will be much smaller. “Whereas the nutraceutical side, which is the other half of the industry, I believe, will remain more whole plant, more holistic, less processed,” says Gagne.
Nutraceuticals are food-based supplements that have medicinal value. “I think now people are becoming more cognizant of environmental stimuli, external factors, co-factors and their own responsibility in their own health and realizing just taking a pill or just taking a CBD oil isn’t going to fix you,” says Gagne.
CBD has been touted for combating muscle inflammation associated with many different types of ailments. “I do personally believe it helps with inflammation, but it won’t negate eating a bucket of fried chicken. You have to be taking other steps as well,” says Gagne.
The CBD offered by Flock Goods are full spectrum extractions, which they source from the United States. Flock also offers a zero-THC extract as well, but Gagne says they will be discontinuing it soon to focus mainly on whole plant full spectrum extracts. “As a small business owner, you kind of have to prioritize capital and it’s just not as cost effective to offer that when it’s such a small clientele in our market and I sympathize with people who have to take a drug test because that’s really the only reason to not just take full [spectrum]oil,” says Gagne.
In addition to selling different CBD products, Gagne’s website has a blog that offers information on positive lifestyle choices such as practicing emotional intelligence, intermittent fasting, functional fitness, and others. Gagne currently lives with his Dutch Shepherd on a riverbank in the state of Maine in a tiny house RV that he built himself.
“This has been kind of my life personified as a brand,” says Gagne. “And I’ve been stoked that people have been receptive and have liked it.”