My Journey to Team PossAbilitiesChris Sproule
In 2003, I was a Firefighter working for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue at one of the busiest fire stations in the country. On May 23, 2003, I was paralyzed in an accident. Not long after my accident an organization that helps address mobility issues for those with physical challenges provided me with a handcycle. That handcycle sat staring at me for years, only brought out for the occasional recreational ride, until I decided that both the handcycle and I could sit no longer.
As I worked my way steadily from recovery to rehabilitation, and re-entry into family, friends, work and school, I began to see handcycling as a way to regain my independence, my identity as the lifelong athlete that I had been and, perhaps, to serve as an inspiration for others to move ahead and beyond the challenges that life can throw at you.
Three years ago, I passed that original handcycle on to another young man, hoping it would serve as encouragement to move forward as it did for me. I would like to continue that message, setting in place the opportunity to endure, excel, and to exceed, by earning the right to be a Paralympic contender. Fourteen years and thousands of miles later, I am a competitive handcyclist trying to earn a place on the United States National Team and compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan.
One of the most humbling things I have learned is that Olympians don’t get to the Olympics on their own. They have the support of family, friends, coaches, team members, their employers, and countless other people they may have never even met before. The support, ranging from words of encouragement from complete strangers to family and friends traveling with me around the country as my “pit crew”, has been incredible. I can’t even begin to express how appreciative I am.
I am humbled be a member of Team PossAbilities and am excited about sharing their vision of providing all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to discover the boundless ways to find joy and satisfaction in a meaningful life. PossAbilities has opened doors and given me opportunities that have had such an incredibly positive impact in my life and I am so appreciative for that.
The reason I work so hard is because of my natural athletic competitiveness and my desire to represent the United States at the Olympic Games, the pinnacle of athletic competition. As a former NCAA Division I soccer player, and as a proud Las Vegas Firefighter, I know what it takes to be the best because I have played and worked with the best. As an individual who met obstacles early on, I am committed to sharing the vision for rising above the challenges that come our way by making the U.S. Team and bringing home the gold!