Paralympian Amanda McGrory shares experience with others in wheelchairs

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Paralympic medalist Amanda McGrory took a day from training in Champaign to visit some patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. (WLS)

Amanda McGrory is a four-time Paralympic medalist and won the Chicago Marathon twice. While she's currently training for the Rio Paralympics and the Chicago Marathon, she took a day from training in Champaign, Ill. to visit some patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

"After my injury I had no idea para sports even existed or that I could do any of these things," McGrory said.

Patients at varying levels of recovery took to the track with McGrory Thursday.

Desmond Harper, 15, tried a racing chair for the first time. And it so happened he ran around the track with an elite Paralympian for his first experience.

"She is very inspiring because my doctors tell me I can't heal, but if I don't, then I have people like her I can look up to," Harper said.

McGrory hopes this visit may help patients, especially the younger ones, see opportunities with a wheelchair, something she said she didn't have when she was five and lost the ability to walk.

"Even if they don't decide they want to be Paralympian in track in field, they can still do pretty much anything they want to, it just may take a little bit longer and they might have to do it a bit differently," McGrory said.

Among the patients is Miranda Cervantes, 9, who had never seen a racing chair or met a Paralympian.

"That's pretty cool and amazing because she's doing that in a chair," Miranda said.

Miranda said she wasn't ready to get in a racing chair just yet, but invited the elite Paralympian to play a sport she was comfortable with.

Miranda and McGrory took to the tennis courts and McGrory quickly admitted tennis wasn't her spot. But the match up wasn't about points, but about making the most of what you've got.
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