Get inspired: 5 professional athletes who overcame their disabilities

  1. Surfer – Bethany Hamilton

Born and raised in Hawaii, in a family of surfers, she was born to be part of the water. She enjoyed surfing from an early age and even started to compete professionally. However, at the young age of 13, a shark attacked her and she lost an arm.

Understandably, many others would never ever even get close to the water after such a horrible accident. Not Bethany. She proved to have unbeatable spirit and true determination to continue surfing. Less than a month after the attack, she was back on her board. More determined than ever, aged just 15, she won the NSSA National Championships.

But even that was not enough. She continued surfing and become the face of many sports magazines. She wanted to inspire others and shared her story in the inspirational movie Soul Surfers.

  1. Triathlete – Jason Lester

Would you ever dream to compete in an Ironman that after a horrific car accident? That was exactly what Jason did. The car accident when he was just 12 left him with a multitude of injuries, among which, a paralyzed arm. That didn’t stopped him. He competed in Ironman and Ultraman competitions without being able to use his arm fully. He can swim faster, ride better and run mind-blowing distances regardless of his disability. He was crowned “the best male athlete with disability’ in 2009 becoming the first one to receive this award.

  1. Wrestler – Anthony Robles

Unlike the two athletes above, he was born with his condition. Missing a leg since birth, he proved that he had the attitude he needed to succeed. He became high school and college wrestling champion. The young athlete had to overcome many obstacles on his way to the NCAA championship title, but he remains an inspiration to this day!

  1. Triathlete and Marathon Runner – Jim MacLaren

Zero chances for survival, said the doctors in the hospital. He was hit by a bus while on his motorcycle. Against all odds, he survived, albeit one of his legs had to be cut below the knee. After the accident he assessed his life and decided that his past accomplishments in university sports brought him great joy, he decided to compete again. He took up swimming and running and even competed in NY Marathon and Triathlon. A true inspiration, he later took up inspiration speaking to motivate others to live their life to the fullest.

  1. Paralympic Games Champion – Melissa Stockwell

A roadside bomb exploded while Melissa was part of a convoy during her service in the US Army. Her leg had to be amputated above the knee. The recovery was difficult, but she started swimming to speed up the process. 4 years down the road, she took part in a Paralympic Games and become the record holder in 100 meter butterfly and the 100 meter freestyle competitions. A true impiration, she was even featured on Hartford U.S. Paralympics Partnership ad campaign