Paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann on resilience after paralyzing procedure

After a routine medical procedure left her paralyzed, the record-breaking swimmer and author of “Limitless” opened up about overcoming adversity and shared advice on mental health during the pandemic.
9:24 | 04/22/21

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Transcript for Paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann on resilience after paralyzing procedure
Mallory wagon and was just eighteen years old when her life was turned upside down by a routine medical procedure that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Just years later she became a record breaking pair Olympic gold medalist. Now she sharing her inspiring story in her new book the limit list the power of hope and resilience to overcome circumstance. Please welcome paralympic swimmer Mallory wagon and welcome Mallory. Thank you so much for having me I appreciate it well let's start out at the beginning right now can you tell us what happened to you when you read teen. Ernie January 21 2008 has always served as when I called my southern moment and I was eighteen years old it was just a few months prior to nineteen per day. And I want and for what was to be my third and final epidural injection for crack and unfortunately due to complications and procedure that day. I was left her east and and that's that's really the moment for me that started this journey and really looking toward the future half my life. She'll look more questions than answers and an abundance of uncertainty. And and through that process hiding in the past thirteen years now. Rodent to grant and as soon to be three time Olympian and now we're. Wow. Now why did you wanna write this now and who went at four. Fergie limitless. So much about finding the strength and courage to share my story. And a way. Couldn't power others to honor her. And I think that's such an important for all of us right now we will have shut it moments of the impact in our lives all the use. Adversity and uncertainty. But will we can find the space to honor that your honor that. Past Hillary travel rather than live and next. And lean into who we be content through a process that you reach our own limitless potential and and so. Her knee I I wrote limit glitch. Horror you know somebody raises for that eighteen year old version of me I was so lost. Confused and pretty knowing that back feeling and I haven't not moment in time of my life. It's a lot more universal than we don't realize and I wrote it for anyone who is looking for. Path forward and looking to find their only within because we all little adversity and we all the hardship and trauma and loss and and the true that this is all those moments. Shea who we aren't they don't have to define who we can't. Counts. Winning had always been a big part of your life but at first she didn't beat you get back into the pool after your injury. Just four years later you competed at the 2012 pair Olympics winning a gold medal and shattering a paralympic record. I mean it's so make so few people can say that in her life what was that moment like. That moment on September 2 2012 when I sat atop her political again. And saw our play grades and her slant play. It was such a reminder of this idea that. We are only as good as people starters. And I looked as if for your journey that led into the moment army inch. And there were there are countless times where where I felt like I just wanted to get bridge and the strength to keep going where coach late flow fell. Show overwhelming at times is I try to figure out what my new normal lives as a woman with a disability. And an throughout Latin rock the ups and the downs and highs and lows. I had this community wrapped around me fill life with color every single day. And I think that are lit at realizing it into the day. It's not the incidents aren't circumstances that define who we are ultimately. How we choose to react and interact scenario you choose to finish that race and and it's also about who we choose to surround ourselves win I think. I look for. Her whole apple battle your your heart not just because obviously it isn't her Olympic gold and an incredible accomplishment that I am so proud of it represented something so much bigger and race that day anxious served as a deacon in. I hope and a reminder for me how our community has to sustain even the darkest periods in our lice. Now during the covad nineteen pandemic the Tokyo 22 when he paralympics were postponed to later this year. Now you've just got back from your first big meet since the pandemic how did it go and how are you gearing up for the competition this year. You know it is strange admittedly that we are urged here and Merck and TD and you know I think all of us through this past year with the pandemic can look at our calendars talent when he 21 and and our lives a little bit different than we thought they widow who knew her you know not in 21 even early parks. Alan I am I'm so grateful for where your apps hands. I just hope for my first competition I bring myself first and World Bank to clean it. It's I can't opt. On cloud nine you know I I think. It's that Olympic podium I got up there on September 2 2000 well. And it has been a long journey filled wit yet another injury that his. Pretty much been it constant fight for the past seven years and so to finally be at this late and they just. And it shows the power resilience and and the will not forget how can surround yourself you know that lets you even even during the challenging times. Wow Mallory and you can afloat on your Claudette cloud nine for just a minute see how that feels. But on this past year has been a lesson in resilience with social isolation for all that's taking it to pull on mental health. How have you managed to stay strong in do you have advice for anyone who's struggling. You know. Saying this year's been tough I feel like is it such and such a loaded statement right we've we've experienced this shared. This shared experience as a society globally no matter what corner of the world to find yourselves in. We we all the difference perspectives those acts and and I'm fortunate because it's your today. I ever meet help and so has vehemently and loved ones and and I know that that is probably the biggest blessing you could ask or after you're like this past. But it ain't quit that we we've all struggled to raise you know I looked my career in. I'm still training for Tokyo and I I was gonna be starting the journey to becoming a mom this year the Tokyo when he went east to close and cash. And we've all had those moments and what we thought it would be like. And in that I think a lot of us have found ourselves going back to saint my cash. I can't wait for light to go back to normal. To what it works this before march 20 Tony. And and Eileen on the and a lot because after Krause. I want a life to go back to what it was in January 22008. What I found that journey is its not possible we can't go back and somewhere throughout the brought along the way we need realized. The only way forward isn't acts through. And in that process we grow and who we are supposed to be Kong and so there's this element. Being graceful ourselves and meet universal's horror at this moment and not holding ourselves to pass circumstances. And experiences and performances. As what our little metrics need beef or life moving forward. And instead the lenient who we become a route this challenging time we've grown into and look at whole workshop being. New and looked for into the going where we've never done before and so. I think actually personally and lock on the map and and I feel so fortunate in that time. I was able to write limitless because it reminded me so much of the journey had already travel. And it helped her meet those moments this year I'll really hard and ice leading to her lying in the street that I half. Neatly in the resilience that room today and Richard as we all have and I just. I feel like if we could all just look into the Mir. To be just a little bit more kind to ourselves and remind ourselves that strength that we eat how to. We had to Muster to get to this week and we're right now when our lives and honor that and how serious Ford and who we're going to become. I'm could be so powerful for all acts. Your words and messages are so wise in so we needed universally so it clearly this book is for all of us. But we will be cheering you want as you go to Tokyo. On the and it looks like we're putting our money on the right one purity number one but. Eighteen for being here and I want to tell everyone that her booklet lists the power and hope and resilience to overcome circumstance is out now. Definitely check it out at the words we could all use right now eighteen calories. VU someone's.

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