Athletes Who Have Overcome Disabilities

Sports provides the perfect landscape for amazing underdog stories. There may be no greater example than athletes with disabilities who rise above any obstacle in their way. These athletes who have overcome disabilities have a special perspective on how to tackle life and achieve success. They make great motivational speakers for business groups, charities and a host of other events. 

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There is not much in life that Amy Purdy has not tackled at full force.  Purdy was a 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist in Snowboard Cross.  At 19 years old, she had an infection that led to septic shock...

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Armani Williams has already made NASCAR history, even as his begins his promising stock car racing career. Williams is the first NASCAR driver diagnosed on the autism spectrum and just one of three Af...

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Bethany Hamilton is a professional surfer from the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii.  Having grown up on the North Shore she has been a surfer girl her entire life.  With dreams of one day becoming a...

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Chris Waddell began skiing at a young age and dreamt of skiing down the slopes and winning a gold medal for the United States of America; unfortunately, his dream shifted gears on December 20, 1988. W...

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January 19, 1994, fifteen-months-old, David was diagnosed with (Kawasaki disease) a rare disease which caused swelling in the lymph nodes and can attack the inner organs . In his case, it affected his...

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David Wagner became a quadriplegic at age 21 when he suffered a spinal cord injury attempting to jump over a wave in Redondo Beach, California.  He took a year off from college to recover and beg...

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David Weir was born with a spinal cord transection that left him unable to use his legs, but he has never used that as an excuse for not achieving his life’s ambitions in athletics.  Instead, he has o...

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Derrick Coleman, who has been legally deaf since he was three years old, starred at UCLA before being signed by the Minnesota Vikings as a non-drafted free agent in 2012. After being waived by the Vik...

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Jake Olson has one of the most inspiring sports stories you will ever hear. Olson competed as a long snapper at the University of Southern California despite losing his eyesight to cancer when he was...

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Jason McElwain, nicknamed "J-Mac" was born October 1, 1987 and is an American high-functioning autistic amateur athlete, in both basketball and marathon, and public speaker. McElwain came to...

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Jim Abbott’s story of making it to the major leagues despite being born without a right hand has inspired millions.  His ten-year pitching career had several highlights, allowing Abbott to continually...

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Jim Kyte was the first legally deaf player in NHL history.  He played in 598 games for five different franchises.  Kyte was originally the 12th overall pick of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft by th...

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Jonathan Lujan grew up shredding the slopes in Littleton, Colorado and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after high school, serving honorably from 1993 to 1997. However, after the September 1...

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Kevin Laue made history by becoming the first one-handed player in Division 1 college basketball. He became one of the top high school prospects in California and signed with Manhattan College. Laue p...

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Lance Allred was the first legally deaf player in NBA history.  He spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008.  During that time, Allred was also a two-time NBA D-League All-Star. ...

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Marlon Shirley is best known as a Paralympic athlete from the United States. He endured more obstacles throughout his early childhood than most people do throughout their entire life and has come to b...

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Muffy Davis is a paralympic athlete competing in several different events. At the young age of 16 Muffy was an active teenager, but a skiing accident left her paralyzed from the chest down. That event...

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While Rico Roman is a gold medal winner in sledge hockey, prior to that he served in the US Army. In 2000, Roman joined the ARMY and while serving he was hit with an IED. That resulted in Rico’s left...

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Rob Mendez's story is simply incredible. He was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, which prevented his limbs to develop when he was an embryo. Despite living his entire life without arms and legs, he be...

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5th round pick of the Seattle Seahawks (141st overall), Shaquem Griffin was born July 20, 1995 and is a former linebacker for the UCF Knights. Shaquem and his twin brother Shaquill both played for UCF...

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Taquarius Wair has an amazing story that led to him winning the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2020 ESPYs. Wair suffered serious burns on over half his body at the age of four when he as the vi...

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Taylor Lipsett is an Olympic Ice Sledge Hockey player, representing the United States. He is diagnosed with Osteogenesis imperfecta, which is a disease that causes ones bones to be extremely...

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Travis Roy is a former ice hockey player. Roy worked hard throughout his younger years to earn an athletic scholarship to play hockey in college. Travis got his scholarship and attended Boston Univers...