Incredible Athletes with Disabilities

Bethany Hamilton SurfingNumerous athletes with disabilities have established themselves over the years as forces to be reckoned with. Showcasing their talents on the world stage, these incredible competitors have taken their fair share of medals and titles in multiple areas of competition. Here’s a closer look at some of the world’s best athletes with disabilities.

Baxter Humby: Baxter Humby is known as the “One-Armed Bandit” and currently competes as a world-champion kickboxer. He ran for the Canadian National Track Team in 1992 and 1994, acted as Tobey Maguire’s stunt double in Spider Man 3, and currently holds the title of IMTC World Super Welterweight Champion.

Bethany Hamilton: Bethany Hamilton is a professional surfer and has been competing since 1998. She survived a shark attack in 2003, when her left arm was bitten off by a tiger shark. She learned to surf again by adding a handle to her surfboard and kicking more to compensate for her lost arm. She has since returned to competition, published a book about her experience (Soul Surfer), and performed all the one-armed surfing stunts in the 2004 film that was based on her book.

Chelsea McClammer: Chelsea McClammer is an American Paralympic athlete who competes in wheelchair track events (her favorites are the 400- and 800-meter). Her legs were paralyzed in a traffic accident at age six. She was the youngest member of Team USA’s 2008 Paralympic team, medaled six times at the Parapan American Games in 2011, and was nominated in 2012 for the Best Female Athlete with a Disability ESPY.

Derrick Coleman: Derrick Coleman is a running back for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. He is the first deaf offensive player in the National Football League. He has told the press that he was picked on as a child and was encouraged by football coaches to give up the sport, but never lost sight of his dreams to play in the NFL. He taught himself to read lips in order to understand play calls and his fellow players assist him during games by mouthing last-minute changes.

Oz Sanchez: Oz Sanchez competes on the American Paralympic Team as a handcyclist and triathlete. He is a former United States Marine and was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2001. Sanchez has medaled at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games and at the 2009-2011 UCI Paracycling Road World Championships, and finished the 2010 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

Alana Nichols: Paralyzed at age 17 in a snowboarding accident, Alana Nichols continued to compete in several sports despite her injuries. She earned a silver medal at the 2006 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship and a gold medal in wheelchair basketball at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. She later began downhill skiing and won four medals (two gold, one silver, one bronze) at the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Kyle Maynard: Kyle Maynard was born with congenital amputation, without any arms or legs, but he hasn’t let that hold him back. Kyle’s many accomplishments include winning GNC’s “World’s Strongest Teen” title, being named to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics, and publishing a New York Times bestselling autobiography.

Melissa Stockwell: Melissa Stockwell was the first female soldier to lose a limb in Iraq, just three weeks after she was deployed. She was the first Iraq veteran chosen to participate as part of the American Paralympic team and competed in Beijing at the 2008 Paralympic Games. Stockwell later turned her focus on triathlons, winning three gold medals at the 2010-2012 ITU Triathlon World Championships. She co-founded Dare2Tri, a Chicago triathlon club for athletes with disabilities.

This post was written by a guest contributor for Global Lift Corp., the premier source for ADA compliant pool lifts and aquatic access equipment. Learn more at


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.