Team St. Luke’s athlete, Chelsea McClammer, qualified for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China this summer. Chelsea is one of 17 women on the U.S. Paralympic team who will be competing in Beijing, and at the age of 14 is the youngest of the 17 female team members. Chelsea will be participating in the 800 meter race.
Chelsea was paralyzed after sustaining a spinal cord injury in a head-on collision almost eight years ago. Chelsea went through a self-described brief “dark period,” where she felt that she didn’t belong. Soon, after joining Team St. Luke’s, the adaptive sports team created by St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington, Chelsea’s natural athletic skills surfaced and she soon went from a shy teenager to a strong and outgoing athlete.
“She pushed herself, and went from getting beat by her team mates to being able to compete with the boys because she was so quick,“ said team coach Teresa Skinner.
Chelsea originally dreamt of competing in the 2012 Paralympics which are scheduled to take place in London. However, her dreams came true a few years earlier, when she qualified for the 2008 Paralympics women’s track and field team that will compete in China this September.
Chelsea competed in two other major competitions this summer along with training for the Paralympics. In July she competed in both the Junior Nationals and the Junior Internationals at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Chelsea received 5 gold medals in the 800M, 1500M and 5000M, silver in the 100M, 200M, 400M and pentathlon, and silver in the 3-on-3 basketball competition.
Before continuing on to Beijing, Chelsea is training at an Airforce Base in Tokyo, Japan.