Terrence Echols and Thomas Edson
Sports Editor and Co-Editor of Promotion
On March 22, Chris Waddell visited Jamesville-Dewitt High School to speak with students about his paralysis. Mr. Waddell is known around the world for the many things he’s accomplished since he was paralyzed from the waist down. He has been an international inspiration for people of all ages and is known for his “One-revolution” movement.
Mr. Waddell became paralyzed in a skiing accident during a college break 28 years ago. In the middle of a turn, his ski popped off. He then fell and broke two vertebrae and suffered a spinal injury. Mr. Waddell reminds himself everyday of his injury and how to cope with it through a chant that he had J-DHS students repeat back to him a number of times throughout his speech: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.” Mr. Waddell was determined not to let his paralysis keep him from doing the things he wanted to do in life. He returned to school two months after his accident and was able to return to the slopes 362 days after the fall as a monoskier. One of the ideas that Mr.Waddell strongly believes is that “the greatest risk we run is not taking a risk at all.”
When he first got into monoskiing, he thought it would just be a leisure activity. Since he had been a competitive ski racer growing up, he decided he should try to compete at monoskiing. So, he started training to compete in the paralympic games. This training would pay off; he has won 12 paralympic medals and is the most decorated male mono skier in history. Mr. Waddell then took up the challenge of becoming the first paraplegic to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Although he was assisted for a couple hundred feet, Mr. Waddell was extremely proud of his accomplishment, and has used it as an example in his speeches that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
J-DHS students left the presentation very inspired by Mr. Waddell’s story. “He was really inspirational, If he can climb a mountain with legs that don’t work, I feel like I can do anything,” said junior Matthew Carlin. Junior Andrew Barclay said “(Mr. Waddell) made me want to be a better person to myself and take nothing for granted.” “He’s an inspiration to me because in a way, I can relate to him,” said senior Michael Swan. “He gave a really moving speech, he inspired the audience to never quit,” said junior Natalie Alweis
Today,Mr. Waddell has spearheaded the One Revolution Foundation, which spreads his saying that has helped him since becoming a paraplegic. For more information on Chris Waddell and the One Revolution Foundation, you can visitone-revolution.org.