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Extremity Games Testimonial 

Tracii

The following was written by Ronnie Dickson... I just came across it and thought I would share it with you all!

 

It is amazing to look back on your life and think that one event, something so simple, can change your life forever. On June 28th, 2005 my left leg was amputated above the knee; believe it or not this was not the life changing part. Adaptation was relatively easy, I was no longer in pain and my deformed left leg was gone and replaced with a mechanical one that worked. I was fortunate, I CHOSE to have my left leg amputated, not everyone is this fortunate.

Unfortunately along with my left leg I had lost something else also, my competitive spirit. From the time I was 10 until I finished high school soccer was my passion. My life was my family and soccer. I played competitively until my deformity was so painful that I could not play at a high level anymore. Soccer in the Paralympics is played on crutches. It is not the same game that had given me so many great experiences. I knew that when my leg was amputated that I would leave my years as a player behind me, as a fond memory. I’m glad it was there, but it was time to move on. I coasted through my first year of being an amputee; I had a great time at college with my friends and was succeeding in the classroom. I had gotten comfortable enough with my amputation that it felt like my real leg now.

Everything was going as planned, but I still did not feel right. Something was different. One day I was sitting in the chair at my prosthetist´s office reading a prosthetics magazine and I saw an ad for an event called Extremity Games. It immediately sparked my interest. Upon scanning through the list of events, one in particular stood out at me, Rock Climbing. That same night I went home and searched more about the topic. I found out that there was a climbing gym nearby and soon after went to go try it for the first time.

Climbing was difficult, simply put. It is hard for people with two legs to climb, we are not as physiologically adapted as monkeys, let alone someone with one. I only made it to the top of one or two climbs that day, but I knew that I wanted more. The feeling of reaching the top was invigorating. Something changed that night, it felt like a fire had been lit and that I had the competitive spark back in my life.

I trained really hard for five months and competed in my first Extremity Games in 2007. The whole experience was surreal; I was surrounded by people just like me. There was an immediate sense of camaraderie with everybody and I met people that I am still proud to call my friends to this day. The caliber of the athletes was impressive and it showed me that we are only as limited as the boundaries we put on ourselves.

Extremity Games introduced me to climbing, a relatively obscure in comparison to others sport that I would have otherwise probably never tried in my life. It has taken me amazing places and given me life experiences all across the world most notably Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Chile, and Italy. Climbing has done incredible things for my self confidence and most of all it has replaced was soccer was in my life. It made me feel whole again as a person, for the first time in a long time. To this day I can honestly say that I can attribute most of my success to what the extremity games has done for me as a person. Anything I do in my life will be because of the inspiration through the personalities and sport that the extremity games introduced me to. We all have unique challenges, some people more than others, but we can overcome anything with a positive attitude, Extremity Games didn’t just give me back the competitive spirit in my sport, it gave me back my competitive life.

It turns on I had the passion all along, all I needed was for the seed to be planted, everything else was there.



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