As I watched the 2010 Olympics I listened to the announcers always list the amount of surgeries the athlete had gone through. Some athletes had considerable surgeries & therapies to get back onto the ice or into their skis. Others had a very short time to recover & train following a recent surgery.
The surgeon that did my h& joint replacement surgery works in an office as part of a team who treats a large amount of professional athletes. The waiting room has a TV turned to a channel covering Extreme Sports. All throughout the offices are large posters or photos of athletes who are everything from snow boarders to ballet dancers. And each is autographed by the “patient.” Sometimes, thanks are h&-written on the poster by each body part to the particular doctor in the office who did the surgery.
During my last appointment the surgeon told me that I was an inspiration to him. “There are all these athletes that come in & I tell them about you,” he said. “I tell them, you go out there & risk your life & then expect me to fix you back up so you can do it again. There is this woman I know who has rheumatoid arthritis & she just wants to pick up a cup of coffee.”
As I listened to the commentaries about the olympic athletes, I admired their perseverance, their committment, & their discipline. But I also thought, “I wish I could have that choice–to have surgery to be an athlete–not to just live my daily life.”
Today the Paralympics begin. John Furlong, who is the CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games told the audience at the opening ceremonies, “These Games will inspire greatness. What you see over the next nine days will leave an impression on your lives forever.”
I just watched an inspiring story about a soldier, Heath Calhoun, on television. When a rocket-propelled grenade hit his Humvee in 2003, it resulted in the amputation of both his legs above the knee. But he has now has become a world class competitor in skiing in just six years. I got goosebumps watching this & it made some USA Onlympic athletes’ injuries a few weeks ago seem minor compared to these amazing men & women.
Take just a couple of minutes to watch this video about paralympian Health Colhoun. Here is cute daughter say, “If he doesn’t win, I still love him.”
You can see more about the USA Paralympian Team here.
Opening ceremonies had Montreal singer Martin Deschamps, born with deformities on all four limbs, ride out on his Harley Davidson Motorbike before starting a choreographed number. Toronto rocker Fefe Dobson, was joined by extreme bike & wheelchair athletes who performed tricks on a stylized skateboard park.
What inspires me is that I know that many of these people with disabilities have immune systems like you & I. They are at high risk for infection. Small injuries don’t heal quickly. They have obstacles to overcome each day, including walking across a room or picking up a cup of coffee. And yet, like you & I, each day they do everything possible to just move forward one more day. To celebrate life, not just survive it.
Be sure to cheer them on, even if it’s just watching videos online & leaving your comments. The Olympics may have been entertaining for you & even inspirational, but the Paralympic Games will leave you nodding in underst&ing, because you know these athletes know just how hard it is to get out of bed some mornings or go to physical therapy.
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- One Inspires Many: a celebration of ability, courage & the human spirit at Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (newswire.ca)
- Paralympic Games kick off in Vancouver (nationalpost.com)
- Paralympics: Second-class Games no more (olympics.thestar.com)