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Rick Hansen
By Claire E. Johnson

1     At fifteen, Rick Hansen was a typical teenager. He loved sports, and he enjoyed hanging out with his best friends. One summer day in 1973 on the way home from a fishing expedition, his life was forever changed. Rick was thrown out of the bed of a pickup. This vehicle accident severed his spinal cord, leaving him a paraplegic.
2     At the beginning, Rick was in a great deal of pain. He was very frightened and sometimes very angry. As a paraplegic, Rick did not have the use of his legs. How does one manage with two paralyzed legs? What does life hold for someone in braces or a wheelchair?
3     With sheer determination and hard work, Rick developed his sports abilities as a wheelchair athlete. He graduated from the University of British Columbia as the first physically disabled student with a degree in Physical Education. He won nineteen wheelchair marathons in international competitions. In 1982 he competed in the Pan American Games for the Disabled, scoring eight gold medals. He went on to represent Canada at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

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