There's no holding me back! A look at sports for those with limb differences
Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Disabilities + sport = ?
No sport, parasport, able bodied sport, how do you decided and where do you look for guidance or inspiration? These are some questions that many people with disabilities and their parents face.
On this day in 2012, Jonnie Peacock was crowned the fastest amputee on earth. At only 19 years old Jonnie beat defending champion Oscar Pistorious to win the 100m crown. His time of just 10.90 seconds was a new Paralympic record.
Jonnie battled with Meningitis at the age of 5 which led to the amputation of his right leg below the knee. He now wears a prosthetic leg daily and wears a running blade to train and compete in. Jonnie chose to compete in para sport and worked his way up to competing in the paralympics in 2012 and 2016, but this isn't necessarily just because he wears a prosthetic.
Natalie du Toit is a South African swimmer that has competed at both the Olympics and Paralympics. Du Toit wears a prosthetic leg but typically goes without her aid to swim and competes in the 10k open water race. There are 14 other athletes that have competed in both the Olympics and Paralympics in sports such as archery, fencing and table tennis proving that your disability does not necessarily limit you solely to parasport. The Paralympics are a perfect example of showing that people with disabilities can not only compete in a huge variety of sports but that they can achieve sporting excellence too, with some sports specifically designed for paralympic athletes such as boccia and others adapted versions of able bodies sports such as wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. Some athletes compete with assistive devices such as prosthetics to aid them, whilst others compete without; this decisions varies by person and by sport.
Another example of someone not letting their disability stop them achieving their sporting goals is Carson Pickett. Carson was born missing her left hand and forearm and currently plays professional football for Orlando Pride. She's a defender that started playing at a young age and continued through school and college before turning professional. As her sport mostly revolves around the use of her feet, Carson doesn't use a prosthetic when she plays football, unlike Jonnie who uses a running blade when he competes.
There are numerous examples of inspirational athletes with disabilities that have achieved sporting excellence with and without the use of prosthetics and we have only mentioned a few of them here. Overall we hope you've seen that not only is sport accessible for those with disabilities but there are numerous options to take part in and roles models to look up to.