Sam is a resident of the Las Vegas area. He was a driver in the Indy Racing League before suffering an injury in practice in January 2000 in which he sustained a C-3/4/5 spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. He created the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF) that year to raise funds for medical research, innovative equipment used for rehabilitation, and quality-of-life issues. In 2014, the foundation was rebranded as Conquer Paralysis Now with a mission to cure paralysis while assisting those who are already disabled. To date in total, the organizations have invested more than $15 million in research and programs looking to cure paralysis and support people with disabilities to live better lives.