COLLEGE STATION, TX — Kyle Cox is an Aggie alumnus, a recent Bush School of Government and Public Service graduate, and a licensed motorist.
Kyle was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which has created significant physical setbacks for him. But, thanks to funding from the Texas Workforce Commission, he’s been able to acquire customization for his car, which allows him the independence he needs to drive to work.
"I have a lot of access to people in the disability community," said Kyle's mother Kristen Cox. "I learned that if you need a vehicle so you can work, or be prepared to work, the TWC will help you get that vehicle.”
This car allows Kyle to drive to church, work at his family’s technology business on the Texas A&M campus, and travel to meetings for the business Kyle aims to start.
Using his master’s degree in public service and administration, Kyle is forming a consulting company that will work with businesses on subjects like disability policy.
“Having this business, I have to travel a lot to meet with people and potential clients, so, having that car helps with moving my business forward," Kyle explained.
Kyle didn’t simply hop in the modified car and take off when he first acquired it in August 2019. The vehicle had to be tested for safety by experts, and Kyle spent weeks of training ensuring he could operate it safely. Now, he's able to navigate long-distance journeys as well as short excursions.
“I just took a solo road trip a few months ago to Austin for the first time, to visit the capitol," Kyle said. "That was the first time I got to drive there by myself. I’ve driven to Dallas and Houston, of course with other people in the car. But I’ve even driven as far as El Paso.”
The situation isn’t without its challenges, though. The car system has malfunctioned and left Kyle stranded before. In fact, he was only just returned the car on Wednesday, after a month of repairs were done in Houston. And, since the driving system’s designer lives in Switzerland, troubleshooting problems can be hard.
"We have the cellphone of that guy, if he answers it," Kristen Cox stated. "There’s no after-hours emergency [service], no wheelchair taxi in College Station that can pick him up.”
The Coxes say they’d like to see local vendors who service this type of system. Still, they’re grateful for this advancement in technology, and are hopeful that engineers, such as those at Texas A&M, might be able to develop even more updated options. After all, anything is possible for the Coxes!
“Ten years ago, we didn’t think Kyle would be alive," Kristen said. "We were told he would live to be 20. He’s 25! Five years ago, I had probably heard about [the car modification], but I couldn’t picture him driving. But once I found out it was possible for him, I was on a mission.”
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