A Paralympic Athlete Turns Her Disability Into Success A Paralympic athlete turns her disability into success

OSWEGO,  N.Y. (NCC News)– Desirée Vila was only 15 years old when her dreams turned into her worst nightmare. The Spanish junior youth gymnastics champion from Vigo, Spain was practicing for her next championship when she suffered an injury while training. During practice, she broke her tibia, fibula and meniscus resulting in a severely damaged artery in her right leg. Due to lack of medical attention, Vila’s leg had limited blood supply causing her right leg to be amputated. 

“I was in the ICU because my life was actually in danger, so I was about to die,” Vila said. “So when they told me they had to amputate my leg I was very scared because I was fifteen. So I didn’t wanna look. Because it was like if I look it was gonna be real.”

Vila relied on her team of professionals, medical staff, and her family to support her during the recovery process. 

“Walking with a prosthetic leg is one thing but running with a blade runner is completely different so you really need to have some professional surround you to help you out,” Vila said,

Her parents knew the active and competitive spirit Vila had, and encouraged her to partake in several sports such as tennis, basketball, and track. Through many trials and errors, Vila found a passion for athletics. 

“Yeah I just try again, and again and again,” Vila said. “And then I found out there was a team in Madrid so I got in contact with them and start competing, and then there was that moment where I decided I wanted to go to the Paralympic Games.”

Traveling from Spain to New York, Vila has kept up with both her training and education. Aside from school and competing, Vila has also maintained a lot of attention through her social media and new sponsorship with Adidas.

“I am the first Paralympic athlete sponsored by Adidas in Spain,” Vila said. “ I have a pretty big following on my Tik Tok and Instagram and use my platform to spread awareness about my story and other athletes like myself.” 

Vila has been able to turn her disability to give her the ability to inspire others like her friend Ainho Iepa. 

“She doesn’t care that she has a disability because she wanna try it,” Iepa said. “If she sees she cannot do it, she won’t be disappointed and be like ‘okay maybe next time.’ So she keeps trying and never loses hope, so that’s the way she inspires me.”

Vila anticipates competing at the upcoming Paralympics hosted in Paris, 2024.  

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