Tokyo Bound!Courtney Ryan
I have always dreamed about competing in the Olympic Games as a young kid. At that time in my life, I had hoped to compete in soccer. I started playing soccer at the age of four and the rest is history. I fell in love with the sport and knew that soccer was going to be part of my life’s purpose. I played all through high school and was recruited to play at a Division Two school in Denver, Colorado, Metropolitan State University School of Denver. I was going into my junior year very excited to play. I had done really well my sophomore year and was awarded First Team All-American. I had high expectations for myself that year. However, I woke up one morning and my legs felt numb and were tingling. I figured it was fatigue from the demands of being a collegiate athlete. That night we were traveling to compete in one of our first games of the season. Twenty minutes into the game, I was running towards the ball and, all of a sudden, I felt a horrible pain in my back, fell to the ground, and couldn’t feel my legs. I was rushed to the hospital and, after many tests, was told that I a blood clot had burst in my spinal cord. I was now a paraplegic at the level of T8-T9.
The transition I went through was tough, but I learned about adaptive athletics, specifically wheelchair basketball not long after my rehabilitation stay. I was quickly enamored with the sport and learned about the Paralympic Games. It was then that I realized that my endeavors of being an Olympic athlete were not over, it was just a different title and sport now! On February 6th of this year, I arrived to Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for the last round of tryouts to make the Paralympic Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. We had three training and competition sessions a day, in which we ran different drills and scrimmages to showcase our skills, as well as meetings with our nutritionist, sports psychologist, and strength and conditioning coach. It was a jam-packed schedule for a two-day selection camp!
I am happy to announce that all my hard work and training has paid off! I was selected to be one of the athletes to represent Team USA in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. This dream could never have happen without the support of my family, friends and Team PossAbilities!