Teen Wrestler With Cerebral Palsy Sets Out to Make History
Lucas Vialpando doesn’t ignore the naysayers — he listens to them. Then, he uses their doubt as fuel to become a better wrestler.
Vialpando, from Aurora, Colo., was born with cerebral palsy. Without crutches, he can’t stand or walk. So when he asked to start wrestling in seventh grade, his dad, Russ, was hesitant.
“I knew there would be kids that would try and take advantage of his situation and try to hurt him,” Russ Vialpando told TheMat.com. “After about three months I agreed to let him wrestle because I knew the coach and he said he would make sure no one took advantage of Lucas.”
For the next few years, Lucas Vialpando worked hard with coaches to learn how to wrestle without full use of his legs. The training paid off last summer, when he qualified for the 2013 Junior Nationals, one of the top high school wrestling tournaments in the U.S., according to KUSA. Although he didn’t win, the accomplishment inspired Vialpando to approach the USA Wrestling team in Colorado Springs and begin a campaign to get the Olympic Committee to include wrestling in the Paralympic games. Wrestling is too inclusive a sport, he thinks, to be left out.
“No matter what anybody tells you, regardless of your race, your disability, your sex or whatever it might be, you can wrestle,” Vialpando told TheMat.com. “If they tell you that you can’t do something, look them in the eye, go do what you do, prove them wrong and realize your dreams.”