These 11 Adaptive Athletes Are Altering the Sport in Sports activities & Health


The phrase “champion” has two meanings. One, clearly, is the winner of a aggressive occasion. As a verb, champion additionally means a person that helps a trigger or group.

These adaptive athletes exemplify each meanings of champion. They’ve achieved excessive ranges of success of their fields, and they’re actively making an attempt to make a constructive impression on the lives of others of their group and past. Their tales and examples are certain to encourage you at present and within the days forward.

From finishing marathons to conquering CrossFit to scaling probably the most unscalable of terrain, these 11 athletes are proving each day that nothing is inconceivable. And with assist from organizations equivalent to the MARC Community, the long run is sky excessive for adaptive sports activities

And maybe a very powerful lesson from these athletes: They refuse to take no for a solution.

11 Adaptive Athletes Altering Perceptions of Sports activities & Health

Victor Assaf
Courtesy of Victor Assaf

Victor Assaf: Adaptive CrossFit Athlete

Victor Assaf was already competing in CrossFit in 2012 when a motorbike accident resulted in him now not with the ability to use his proper arm. He was informed by docs that CrossFit was now not in his future. The place others noticed adversity, he additionally noticed alternative and located his method again into coaching and competitors.

He’s at the moment ranked No. 1 in his division and can also be working with different athletes as a coach. Nothing holds him again from coaching or competing, and he shares that very same power with these round him. His objective is to raise the adaptive CrossFit sport to world-class heights.

“The one factor I’m searching for as an athlete or somebody who folks might look as an inspiration is to assist make adaptive sports activities as elite as it may be,” he says. “Once I retire I wish to shake up your complete sport.”

Instagram: @victerie

Lisa DeJong
Courtesy of Lisa DeJong

Lisa DeJong: Paralympic Snowboarder, Creator

Lisa DeJong made historical past on the 2022 Winter Paralympic Video games by being Canada’s first medalist within the Video games. She earned silver within the Snowboard Cross. She was meant to be within the snow as a result of she got here from a snowboarding household. Even with dropping her left leg under the knee at age 3, she discovered her method into snowboarding by age 12. She went on to grow to be each an teacher and competitor within the years since.

Her most up-to-date contribution wasn’t on a aggressive platform, it was as an writer. She wrote “Lucy’s Fancy Leg,” a youngsters’s story that each will increase consciousness and celebrates youngsters rising up with disabilities. This was an necessary mission for her as a result of she needed to share her message primarily based off her expertise in her personal voice.

“Tales are so highly effective, and my guide is exclusive in that it reveals incapacity in a constructive, whimsical, and goofy method that readers younger and previous can actually join with. Loads of the amputee humor within the guide is loosely primarily based off tales from my very own childhood.”

Instagram: @lisa_dejong12

Blaze Foster
Courtesy of Blaze Foster

Blaze Foster: Para Powerlifter

Blaze Foster was recognized with Achondroplasia, a type of Dwarfism, at start. He grew up in Pennsylvania and was very energetic in a number of sports activities. He felt the best connection to Para Powerlifting, and he would go on to signify Workforce USA on the worldwide stage from 2018 till 2023. He’s spent current months specializing in Adaptive CrossFit and has even gotten into health modeling. A part of the rationale for his success is with the ability to stay constructive and sharing good vibes with these round him. He credited athletics and coaching for that.

“Some easy ways in which maintain my thoughts constructive is health, which performs a giant half and has taken me to locations I’d have by no means imagined,” he mentioned. “I additionally take pleasure in studying hardcover nonfiction books, maintaining a healthy diet, and conserving myself round kindhearted folks as a lot as doable.

Instagram: @blazelifts_32

Earl Granville
Courtesy of Earl Granville

Earl Granville – Spartan Racer and Marathon Runner

Earl Granville had simply began primary coaching when the USA suffered the assaults of Sept. 11, 2001. He would serve for 9 years within the Military Nationwide Guard and be concerned with a number of deployments, together with Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The ultimate mission can be a expensive one for him as a result of he encountered a roadside bomb that resulted within the lack of his left leg by the knee. Two of his fellow servicemembers can be misplaced in that incident.

After dropping his limb in addition to his brother Joe in a while, Granville, he would go on to fight his adversity in constructive methods by working with nonprofit teams and serving as a keynote speaker to assist others take care of their adversity as nicely. He shared one quote that he discovered has helped on that journey to the opposite aspect of struggles.

“Discover the self-discipline by the tough,” Granville says. “You’ll begin to embrace the end result and it’ll grow to be a behavior.”

Instagram: @earlgranville, web site

John Edward Heath
Courtesy of John Edward Heath

John Edward Heath: Adaptive CrossFit Athlete

You could have heard many individuals confer with the members, coaches, and athletes of CrossFit as “the group.” John Edward Heath is among the athletes in that sport, and he has been very profitable in that self-discipline in addition to in snowboarding, and ParaTrack and Area. Nevertheless, the founding father of the Adaptive Athletics Basis of Maryland thinks about greater than the opponents you see within the Video games. He’s targeted on making a distinction for different Adaptive athletes, youngsters, and Masters of us. He additionally helps most of the people who merely are searching for higher methods to attain private health success.

“Neighborhood in CrossFit to me is the mother with three youngsters who reveals as much as the 9 a.m. class, the grandmother who’s recovering from surgical procedure, or the dad who works too many hours and might solely discover himself within the 6 p.m. class.”

Instagram: @ carbonfiber_john_

Nicky Nieves
Courtesy of Nicky Nieves

Nicky Nieves: Paralympian Volleyball

Nicky Nieves was born with out a left hand, however she has carried out very nicely for herself with out it. She developed a ardour for volleyball and labored her method as much as competing for the USA in sitting volleyball. She additionally coaches and has even created Limitless Folks Inc., a nonprofit with the mission of rising her sport to those who would play seated or standing. The group’s web site proclaims simply how necessary that mission is.

“Right here at Limitless, we imagine that cash, race, bodily skill, and gender, ought to NOT prohibit you from volleyball.”

Instagram: @nicolina_cruzzz,
Additionally at:,

Kevin Ogar
Courtesy of Kevin Ogar

Kevin Ogar: Sled Hockey, Para Powerlifting, CrossFit


Kevin Ogar is the 2022 CrossFit Video games Champion within the seated with out hip perform class. He’s additionally a Degree 3 licensed coach and proprietor of CrossFit WatchTower. After struggling an harm that left him in a wheelchair, he opted to deal with the ways in which he might nonetheless practice, coach, and stay. The consequence was him reaching excessive ranges of success in each and provoking many individuals along with his journey.

Ogar is the topic of the documentary that was launched in 2017 and is out there on the Solely Human YouTube channel. Ogar can also be a co-owner of co-owner of WheelWOD, a member of the Avalance sled hockey staff, and competed on the USA Para Powerlifting staff.

Instagram: @KevinOgar

Brian Reynolds
Courtesy of Brian Reynolds

Brian Reynolds: Double Amputee Runner

New Jersey native Brian Reynolds is a world-record holder as a double below-the-knee amputee runner. He has additionally represented the USA in worldwide competitions. Born with a compromised immune system, he misplaced his legs under the knees because of meningitis when he was solely 4 years previous.

He would ultimately decide to coaching with a deal with powerlifting with emphasis on the bench press and deadlift. He didn’t start thinking about working till he was in his 20s, however it will be the catalyst to vary his life for the higher.

“It was not till I used to be in faculty that I turned critical at powerlifting and competed in native occasions that I noticed I had spent my life shackled not solely bodily but additionally mentally,” Reynolds says. “I allowed my incapacity to outline me and dictate who I used to be. It was at this level that I modified my notion from assuming I couldn’t do issues to how can I overcome these obstacles?

He’s featured in “The Leadville Path 100,” a film that’s at the moment being performed in movie festivals. He additionally has plans on climbing the very best summits of all seven continents sooner or later.

“I’ll have oversimplified it by stating it as a easy shift in mindset, it took years of blood, sweat, and tears to begin to accomplish my objectives,” Reynolds says. “Once I began my journey into endurance I couldn’t stroll a mile, a decade later I’ve been lucky sufficient to climb a few of the highest mountains on the earth, step as much as the beginning line and race world championship marathons and have met a few of my closest mates.”

Instagram: @brianreynoldsrunner

Robert Rodriguez
Courtesy of Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez: Elite Para Triathlete and Motivational Speaker

Instagram: @robertanthony.speaker @limbpossible

Robert Rodriguez (often known as Robert Anthony) doesn’t keep in mind ever having his whole proper leg. That’s as a result of he was born with Fibular Hemimelia, which led to his amputation at 10 months previous. His childhood was flooded with troubles by no fault of his personal, together with a home hearth, youngster abuse, and extra. With trauma comes treasures, and Anthony’s treasures included dedication to succeed and resolve to beat.

The daddy, husband, and elite Para Triathlete has gone on to talk to over 100,000 college students, sharing his story, providing inspirational messages, and making a distinction in his travels throughout the nation. He additionally created a nonprofit group to assist present prosthetic limbs to underprivileged amputees. Oh yeah, he has additionally excelled in amputee soccer, paratriathlon, sitting volleyball A2, and competed in Spartan races.

“Let the hearth inside you burn brighter than the hearth round you,” is Rodriguez’s recommendation to different athletes.

Kyle Stepp
Courtesy of Kyle Stepp

Kyle Stepp: Para Triathlete

Kyle Stepp has on his Instagram bio that he’s “on a mission to do good and stay an epic life.” His life had a not so epic part when he was recognized with osteosarcoma on the age of 14. He initially lived with a rod in his leg, however he in the end confronted amputation in 2020. He struggled to get used to the prosthetic and even refused to put on it at first, however he would ultimately discover prosthetics that allowed him to be extra energetic.

In consequence, he was part of a staff that climbed Cotopaxi in Ecuador and is a really profitable Para Triathlete. His journey and ambition are displaying people who even when they’re thought of disabled, they will grow to be very ready.

Instagram: @kylestepp

Jack Wallace
Courtesy of Jack Wallace

Jack Wallace: Sled Hockey and Paracanoe

Jack Wallace was very energetic in sports activities as a child till he was 10 years previous when a boating accident led to the amputation of his proper leg above the knee. It took months of rehabilitation earlier than he might transfer ahead, however as soon as he did, it was proper again into sports activities. He began taking part in sled hockey and grew as much as be part of the Nationwide Improvement staff, then he made the US Paralympic staff. Since becoming a member of that staff, Wallace established himself as a number one power. They went on to win Paralympic gold in 2018 and 2022 in addition to three world championships in 2019, 2021, and 2023.

Wallace even made his method again into the water by becoming a member of the game of Paracanoe (Dash Kayak). He was set to make the Summer season Paralympics in Tokyo, however he had to return into surgical procedure to restore an elbow harm. He’s nonetheless decided to be a medalist in each the Summer season and Winter video games. So, he’s again to work along with his sights set on Paris in 2024.

“I do know the facility of seeing folks with disabilities excel in sports activities,” Wallace says, “as a result of as a child that’s precisely what I wanted to excel after dropping my leg.


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