adaptive sports

Dick Traum – Achilles International Founder and Inspiration

In 1965, Dick Traum, 24, was filling his gas tank at a gas station when the car behind him jumped forward and crushed him between the 2 cars.  As a result of his injuries, his right leg had to be amputated.  In 1976,  Dick found himself out of shape and approaching middle age.  He decided to do something about it – he joined a YMCA and began running, small distances at first and building up to miles.  By the end of the year, he became the first amputee to successfully complete the New York City Marathon.

The experience brought a strong sense of achievement and self-esteem. In 1983,  Dick created the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International, to give that same life-changing experience to others with disabilities.

“Somehow, I wasn’t upset. When you lose a leg, there’s no ambiguity. You get an artificial leg and keep going.” (IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders)

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CAF Grant Program – Inspiring Athletes

Jim MacLaren

 

In 1985 Jim MacLaren, a standout football and lacrosse athlete at Yale, was hit by a bus while riding his motorcycle and his left leg below the knee had to be amputated.  Fueled by his competitive and athletic spirit, he recovered and went on to finish the Ironman Hawaii in 10 hours, 42 minutes.  Then, in 1993, during the Orange County Triathlon, he was struck by a van while on his bike, hit a signpost, and became a quadriplegic.  He went on to become a motivational speaker

Bob Babbitt, founder of Competitor Magazine, dedicated to triathlons, cycling and running and himself an Ironman competitor, met MacLaren during the Hawaii Ironman.  It was his first encounter with an athlete running on a prosthetic leg.  He was awestruck at the determination and perseverance of disabled athletes.  After MacLaren’s second accident, when he was bound to a wheelchair, Babbitt and some fellow athletics enthusiasts raised funds to purchase a van which MacLaren could drive with his hands.  They raised more than they needed and Babbitt and MacLaren founded the Challenged Athletes Foundation® to support other disabled athletes in their efforts to remain active.

Bob Babbitt

Babbitt’s belief is to stick with our big ideas, especially when they might seem impossible, and to seek out the experiences that will make an impact on your life and in your community.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® provides universal access to physical activity and sport through global grant distributions, camps, clinics, mentoring and motivation. 

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Jack Wallace – Athlete, Student, Inspiration

In July 2008  10 year old Jack Wallace  was involved in a boating accident while on vacation with his family on Lake George, NY.  His injuries resulted in his right leg being amputated above the knee.

The following summer, Jack went to Camp No Limits with his family for the first time.  He was inspired by the other children to work hard and realized that his limb loss was not a limitation. Camp No Limits helped Jack to stop focusing on his limitations and instead focus on all the possibilities that were available to him.

Jack Wallace with Brooke Artesi - Team Sunshine at Lincoln Park Triathlon 2013

Jack Wallace with Brooke Artesi – Team Sunshine at Lincoln Park Triathlon 2013

“By spending time with all of the other campers who had overcome their disabilities, I stopped noticing their disabilities and mine as well,”

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Kelsey Koch – Inspirational Yogi

kelsey-koch-main

Born without a tibia in her left leg, doctors decided to amputate below the knee when Kelsey Koch was 9 months old to improve her mobility later in life.  Always an active child, the amputation eventually caused a curvature in her spine.  When she was 22, her trainer suggested practicing yoga to alleviate her scoliosis and back pain.

“Yoga makes you work both sides of your body. I’m so dominant on my right side, so I first started yoga to hopefully strengthen out my left side.” (Self magazine story)

 

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Brooke Artesi – Hiking Inspiration

Brooke-Artesi-Shawangunk-Ridge-TrailHiking has been a passion for Brooke Artesi for over 15 years – ever since her boyfriend (now husband ) Steve took her to the Bear Mountain portion of the Appalachian Trail.  She fell in love with the exhilaration of the hike and the welcoming shelters along the way.  In 2015, Brooke completed the 20 mile AT hike on the Shawangunk Trail  in less than 8 hours, fast walking all the way.  Her ultimate goal is to someday complete the entire trail – all 2,166 miles through 13 states!  In the meantime, she hikes as often as possible, being a mother of 2, wife, and owner/Chief Prosthetist & Orthotist of Sunshine Prosthetics and Orthotics in Wayne NJ.

Brooke has been a right leg below the knee amputee since the age of 15, due to a train accident. Hiking was a challenge which she soon mastered.  Having her first son, Nicco, didn’t stop her. While she was home with Nicco, she joined a group called Baby and Me Hike and carried him in a back carrier on every Tuesday hike.

AN INTERVIEW WTH BROOKE

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