Tag Archives: adapted sports

SCI Superstar: Amanda McGrory


One of the most successful wheelchair athletes in US history, Amanda McGrory is reigning royalty of the US wheelchair racing circuit. With four Paralympic medals to her name, including gold in the 5,000 meter and 22 marathon wins overall worldwide, she’s now a professional athlete with two national sponsors.

But adapted sports weren’t the first thing Amanda thought of after becoming paralyzed. She went through the typical morning period before discovering her life’s passion – wheelchair racing. Check out her story of fanciful wins below!

Why she’s fearless

At the age of five while walking down the stairs is the moment Amanda knew something was wrong. She could no longer fully extend her legs, and within an hour she had lost the ability to walk. Later on in the hospital, Amanda was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord and she’s been paralyzed from the waist down since that day. Her entire life changed in an instant.

And when it happened, Amanda of course was depressed. She was 5 and had no idea of full life could still be possible. It wasn’t until few years later when she went to sports camp and her entire perspective on life shifted. Not only did she learn she could still be independent, she found out about wheelchair sports – and wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing.

A light bulb went off at that moment, and sports became Amanda’s life passion. At the age of 12 she began competing in wheelchair racing, and by the time she graduated from high school she was offered a full ride to the University of Illinois to be on their woman’s wheelchair basketball team. While there, she helped the team win three national championships. Go Amanda!

After college, she began to compete on a more national and worldwide scale in racing, andin 2006 said she won her first marathon – the NYC Marathon – and two years later at the Beijing Paralympics she won a gold medal in the 5000 meter (and a silver and two bronze). And Amanda kept on truckin’ in 2009 when she won the London Marathon. And she went to the London Paralympics in 2012. Unfortunately, no medals came home with her that year.

What’s next?

In recent years, Amanda has continued to compete. She won the New York City Marathon one more time in 2011 and she headed out west in 2013 to win the LA Marathon. But last year, in spite of some nasty winds and a new course, she placed 4th in the NYC Marathon, and she’s determined to come back and reclaim her title next year.

Twenty eight years old and still going strong, this professional athlete has no plans of moving on from racing anytime soon. She says she wouldn’t change a single thing about her life when she’s interviewed, even her disability, and we believe here.

Amanda is also looking towards the next Paralympics – Rio! Let’s hope Amanda shows the world that even seasoned athletes can still win those gold medals. We have a feeling that just may happen.

– Visit Amanda’s site: AmandaMcGrory.com

What have your life challenges brought out in you?

Watch the videos!

The Story of Amanda McGrory

Amanda McGrory May Be Unstoppable in the NYC Half Marathon 2014

Amanda McGrory Profile – London 2012 Paralympic Games

Guest post: Fun Wheelchair Sports to try out this Autumn

With the night’s drawing in it might seem tempting to lessen your exercise and hibernate ready for winter. It can be especially difficult to find sports to get involved in if you have to factor in a disability too, but with the Paralympics garnering so much praise in 2012 it shouldn’t be surprising that clubs, groups and sporting organisations are coming to the fore, with established and newly created options both providing great autumn activities.

In this post we list a handful of the activities available to wheelchair users to keep the spirit of exercise and wellbeing going well into winter.

Tennis & Table Tennis

With Britons in the top ten for each category (Mens, Womens, Boy, Girl etc.) it is little wonder that wheelchair tennis is becoming so popular. Whether you want to play competitively or just get your child involved in an extra-curricular activity, this is a fun sport which both seasoned and new competitors can play. Also, as an indoor alternative there is table tennis, you can play as frantically or methodically as you want with no stray balls to chase in poor weather.


Another sport, which now has some high profile names attached after the Paralympic games, is swimming. Whatever the weather you can always get access to your local leisure centre – some even offer dedicated slots for disability swims – contact them directly to get more information and a pool timetable. This is a great way of getting a cardio workout in a safe and warm environment which can involve the whole family.


While it’s true that bowls conjures up images of older people it can be actually played by anyone. There are several organisations and competitions if you want to get fired up on the green, but with indoor bowls available too this can be a relaxing and fun sport to keep you active out of the cold. No matter what your experience level there are clubs and locations across the UK which offer you the chance to get involved.


Wheelchair archery might not be your first thought when it comes to sports which those with a disability can get involved in, but it can actually provide some key skills. Archery requires great arm strength, but what’s more, you will develop precision and focus for your aim. This makes archery ideal for anyone who wants to develop greater control over their upper body strength. For teenagers, the advent of the Hunger Games films will no doubt fuel interest for archery classes.


If you somehow missed the Paralympic games last year then you might think cycling isn’t a feasible idea for someone with a disability or for someone wheelchair bound. Nothing could be further from the truth, there are a raft of opportunities for people to get involved in cycling. Hand cycles are fun and easy to use, putting the pedalling system in better suited position, but these aren’t the only kind of bikes available, specially adapted and created designs are available from such groups as Get Cycling Disability.

So while the weather may not be perfect, you can still get a good daily dose of exercise, mobility and independence with a number of different sports. Improvements are being made with every passing year to allow wheelchair users to get involved in fun sport activities.


About the author:

Brian has many years experience working with the stairlifts, wheelchairs and mobility scooters specialist team at Stechford Mobility.