These 8 amazing athletes will inspire you with their stories of adversity. See how they didn't let anything stand in their way of success!
1) Nate Loomis was paralyzed below the waist in a 1998 body surfing accident. After his injury Nate, who played lacrosse in high school, worried he would never have another opportunity to play a contact sport. Once Nate was introduced to wheelchair rugby, often called quad rugby, he immediately became hooked and joined a team. Described by his teammates as a warrior on the court, Nate says he's more confident than ever and lives for the challenge and camaraderie the sport provides him.
2) The Long Island Bombers are a dedicated group of baseball enthusiasts and athletes from Long Island, NY. They just happen to be blind and visually impaired. The Bombers play beep baseball, a modified version of traditional baseball that uses a beeping ball and buzzing bases to guide the players to score a run. The team shows us that no matter what obstacles are ahead, the ability to succeed lies within all of us.
3) One day in 1995, David Wagner broke his neck in a freak accident at the beach. His life was forever changed -- paralyzed from the mid-chest down and with limited feeling in his hands, David started a rehab program which included playing table tennis. Realizing he had a special talent with a racquet, David began playing competitive tennis in 1999. David became the number 1-ranked quad wheelchair tennis player in the world, won 6 medals at the Paralympic Games (2 of them gold), and his first Grand Slam US Open win in 2010. Off the court, Wagner is a speaker to provide inspiration to other athletes and the disabled.
4) Athletes With Disabilities (AWD) Synchronized Swim is the first of its kind in the United States. The sport is more than mesmerizing, it is helping people with disabilities take their lives back. 15-year-old Raquel Boales was born with a birth injury which resulted in a disability called Erbs Palsy, she also struggles with ADHD. Raquel uses aquatics therapy which includes synchronized swimming for healing.
5) To NBA fans, Chris Herren looked like he had it all. Money, fame, and a gorgeous family. However, his life away from the bright lights of the NBA court was ridden with addiction to drugs and alcohol. In his efforts to prevent others from following the same tumultuous path he did, Chris created "The Herren Project" a mission to increase awareness and addiction prevention.
6) Anthony Ianni was diagnosed with autism (PDD) at age 4. Anthony defied all odds by not only graduating high school, but going on to graduate MSU with a degree in Sociology. While he was there, he was not only the first autistic person to play college basketball, but he was part of TWO Big Ten Championships and a Final Four. As if these successes weren't enough, he now helps others live their dreams. On 'The Relentless Tour with Anthony Ianni' he shares his story and helps stop bullying across the state of Michigan. He also helps and mentors the children at Kids On The Go, a camp for special needs kids.
7) Arianna Tanghe is the youngest sibling of two athletes and longed to experience the rush of crossing the finish line just like her brother and sister before her. There is just one complication... Arianna has Cerebral Palsy. This determined teen has never let her disability stop her despite blindness and her wheel chair restrictions. In 2012, Team Ari was formed, when Arianna's mother, Kelli pushed Arianna in her first 5k race. By her 13th birthday, the power mother-daughter duo completed 13 half marathons! Today, the sky is the limit for Team Ari as they continue training for their first triathlon!
8) These servicemen may have lost limbs overseas, but on the field, they don't need special treatment. Once the competitive juices get flowing, that becomes very clear as these wounded warriors go head to head with seasoned NFL veterans and Washington Redskins Alumni. But even greater than the rush of competition is the sense of camaraderie the guys gain for one another on the field.