When Paralympian Alana Nichols, of Farmington, New Mexico, was 17, she loved snowboarding and would spend as much time as she could on the slopes. However, one day, she attempted a backflip on her snowboard, but landed on her back on a rock and became paralyzed from the waist down.
Nichols continued to pursue her interest in sports, moving on to wheelchair basketball and alpine skiing. Her skills on the slopes took her to the top, as she first competed in the 2009 US Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships ; the 2013 WorldCups in St. Moritz and Sestriere for the giant slalom; the 2014 US Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships; and the Paralympic Games in 2008 and 2012 for wheelchair basketball and 2010 and 2014 for the giant slalom. However, at the Paralympic Games in Sochi in 2014, she had a scary crash, resulting in a dislocated jaw and concussion. She did overcome those injuries to go on to compete at the end of those Paralympic Games, but that was the end of her winter Paralympic endeavors.
Nichols turned to the water, discovering how much she loved to surf and spend time in a canoe and kayak. She competed in and won adaptive surfing competitions as well as the 2016 ICF Paracanoe World Championship, placing 8th overall in the KL2 Women’s 200m.
At Rio, Nichols will be competing in the Paracanoe - Women’s KL2 event, and we wish her the best!
Have you been involved with sports in the past and wondered how you could continue to do so post-disability? Americans with disabilities can still go skiing, surf, play basketball or kayak, as the 2016 Paralympians have truly shown.
We can’t help you sail the seven seas or head down a black diamond ski slope, but when you return to the workforce, you’ll feel like you have! If you’re an American with disabilities on SSI or SSDI who wants to return to the workforce, contact us! Find out how NTI can work with you to help you get a work from home job. http://www.nticentral.org/learnmore
BIO: Mary E. Hart is the Digital Communications Specialist for NTI. She is also a freelance writer, editor and content strategist, specializing in writing copy that converts. Previously, she worked in Demand Generation marketing for UBM Tech and Ziff Davis Enterprise. In her spare time, Mary is working on the next great ghost novel.