Obstacles are Made to be Conquered-Adaptive Sports Athlete Catarina Guimaraes
In this episode of Kessler Foundation's podcast, Catarina Guimaraes shares her inspiring story. Guimaraes is a 15-year old runner with Cerebral Palsy and a rising star of the North Jersey Navigators Track and Field Club.
Below is an excerpt from the podcast.
ANGELA SMITH: She's 15 years old and she's a rising star on the North Jersey Navigators, which is an adaptive sports club for juniors with disabilities. She competes in track and field, swimming, triathlon, and soccer. She currently holds the number one US ranking in her division in the 100 meters and the long jump and is number one in the world in her division in the 800 meters. She won two bronze medals at last year's Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru and was the only female player to compete at the 2019 Friendship Cup Soccer Tournament in Dublin, Ireland. When Katrina is not training or studying-- and she is an excellent student. She was telling me about all the AP courses that she's taking as a sophomore. She plays the violin in her school orchestra. She sings a cappella in the after-school choir, and somehow found time to write and publish two young adult fantasy adventure books. All the proceeds from the sale of the books go to the Navigators and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Katrina.
GUIMARAES: I was born with Cerebral Palsy. It's the way my brain communicates with the other parts of my body. It affects my left arm and then both my legs, which I know standing up here and watching that video, some of you are probably like, "What? That doesn't really look like anything. She can run pretty normal," which was not always the case and recently, I've been working a lot harder to keep it that way. But I was diagnosed when I was two. When I was learning to walk, I would walk on my toes but my toes would be turning purple. It'd be painful. I wouldn't be able to get up the stairs, and eventually, my parents were like, "There is something wrong with this child." So we went to a bunch of different doctors and it turned out that I had a neurologic condition called Cerebral Palsy. I know now that with Cerebral Palsy, it's very important to stay active and continually doing things because the more in pain if you don't do anything all day, then if you go out and do a training session or just stretch or something like that. So from a very young age, I started doing sports. And the first sport I started was Taekwondo. I did it for 10 years. I am a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Taekwondo started as more of a therapeutic kind of way to work with my CP because on my toes, Taekwondo, of course, you had to stay grounded. I had to use my left arm a lot, which actually I used to be able to extend my arms evenly. I haven't been training in Taekwondo so it's kind of receded back to its normal state but it's still better than most because a lot of people don't have that therapeutic way of dealing with their disability and their arms are very [catchy?] and stuff like that.