NOTE: This event has been postponed. Please check back later for the rescheduled date. 

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine is excited to announce that two-time Paralympian, Mallory Weggemann, will be one of our plenary speakers at the Adaptive Sports Education Conference. Join us for a day of learning, networking, collaboration, and discovery. 

Grit, Resilience and Triumph Over Any Obstacle
Presented by plenary speaker: Mallory Weggemann
“You’re the best. You can make a difference and change the world.” The phrase, spoken to Mallory Weggemann by her father each day growing up, is among her core beliefs. Weggemann emphasizes that no matter your disability, everyone is able to overcome and ultimately make a difference in the world. With her unique ability to make audience member feel as if they are involved in a personal conversation, Weggemann teaches how to locate the grit and resilience necessary to keep moving in the face of setbacks.

Mallory Weggemann has been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven. On January 21, 2008, she went to the hospital to receive her third and final epidural injection that she was receiving to help treat back pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia. The epidural injections that were supposed to help with the debilitating pain instead left Mallory a paraplegic with complete loss of movement from her abdomen down.

Just three months after her injury at the age of 18, Mallory chose to return to the pool. In April 2008, her older sister found an article in the local newspaper discussing the Paralympic Swimming Trials at the University of Minnesota. Through the encouragement of her family, Mallory attended the meet as a spectator with her sister and met several of the US National Team coaches, as well as her former coach, Jim Andersen. Still coping with her new disability, Mallory found one thing unchanged, her love for swimming.

Following the London 2012 Games, Mallory launched her career as a highly sought-after motivational speaker and began her training for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Although, in 2014 fate would leave Mallory with another twist in her athletic journey after she sustained permanent nerve damage to her left arm. Faced with the reality of potentially having to retire Mallory decided that she wasn’t willing to give up on her dream of the Rio 2016 Games without a fight.

Mallory returned to the water, her sanctuary and looked to the black line as she fought her way back. With the support of her coach, Steve Van Dyne, Mallory Weggemann began her comeback.  When Mallory talks about her comeback following injury she says, “It takes a community, it takes a belief that you can be better, that you can fight back, that you can defy all odds and that you do not have to be a victim of your circumstance.  A comeback is about the desire to redefine all limitations, having the courage to do what many would call impossible, the passion for what you love to do and most of all having the grace to know when you simply cannot do it alone.”

Mallory is now a two-time Paralympian and will be training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.