Challenged Athletes Living Beyond the Wheelchair

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

Paralyzed from the chest down, Josh Gains lets nothing hold him back.

"There's nothing that I can't do in the wheelchair than an able bodied father does," says Gains, who is striving for the Paralympics and dad to three-year-old daughter Jordan.

After his accident, Brian Woodyard also got involved in sports and has never looked back.

"White water rafting, then I got into snow skiing, hand cycling... I've tried all sports...basketball to tennis to scuba diving...to sky diving -- I'm always looking for the next adventure," Woodyard says.

Being an athlete helps Woodyard remain focused and believe in himself.

"Being involved in sports has given me a lot of confidence, even everyday, even at work," he says. "Being able to snow ski with anyone else."

For many wheelchair bound people in the area, it is tough to have hope and realize there are options.

"There are a lot of people in wheelchairs in this town, but a lot of them stay home and don't do anything because they feel like they can't or don't feel like the resources are there or they feel embarrassed," Woodyard says.

On the Board of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Woodyard coaches others to snow ski and live beyond the wheelchair.

"To show them that they're still able to do other things is a great feeling," he says.

Aspiring paralympian Josh Gaines is training hard to win a spot on the Rio 2016 Paralympic team and compete in the shot put and discus, where he's currently ranked tenth in the world.

"I train for it every morning," Gaines says. "I lift weights, I watch what I eat...I throw every other night."

Josh maintains a positive outlook and the view that no one should be entitled to or handed anything for free.

"Nothing can get you down if you don't let it, there's more to life than just a wheelchair or an accident," Gains says.

For two guys from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, they live every day to the fullest and take nothing for granted.


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