The 2016 Paralympics kick off today. Good luck to hand-cyclist Alicia Dana as she competes in the Rio Paralympics!
Meet Alicia and other elite athletes at the AMTA 2016 National Convention, October 26-29 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hear her discuss the health benefits of massage therapy at the Closing Session panel Bringing Home the Gold: Olympians + Massage Therapy on Saturday, October 29.
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Get to Know Alicia Dana
What are some of the biggest life challenges you've faced? How did you deal with these challenges?
One of my biggest life challenges has been my accident at age 17, which in one instant turned me from an able-bodied, aspiring cyclist to being disabled, in a wheelchair, unable to walk. This was devastating.
Over the years, I have faced this challenge one day at a time. I have sought and found new ways to be in the world, physically, mentally and socially—allowing me to cope with my disability and find a life of meaning and worth. Disabled sports is an example of one way I express myself, challenge my perceived limitations and develop strength and endurance, which helps me to handle the daily life challenges that regularly come my way.
How does massage therapy enhance your training or performance?
Massage has helped me with my recovery. I experience a lot of muscle tension and fatigue—not just from training, but off the bike being in a wheelchair all the time. Spending an hour with my massage therapist provides the hands-on nurturing that my body and mind both crave.
You've competed in previous Paralympics. What makes the 2016 Paralympics in Rio different?
The 2012 Paralympics in London was my first ever big international event, having only just made the National Team two months prior. I was pretty new to the sport, didn't know my competition, my teammates or what it was like to travel with the team, so I was pretty overwhelmed. I now have four years of experience behind me, which is a resource I can draw upon to give it my all. I have a feeling my best Paralympic moments are still to come!
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