Doctors Didn't Know If He Would Ever Walk. Now, He's a Competitive Athlete.
“I think in life people wait for challenges to come to them,” Ben Jackson says in the Gatorade ad below. “But when you’re born with the challenges, you learn how to overcome them from day one.”
The 20-year-old from Tobyhanna, Penn., has spastic cerebral palsy — a neurological disorder that affects his movement and muscle coordination. When he was born, doctors weren’t sure if he’d ever walk. Even when he defied their expectations, growing up and going to school with his CP was a challenge.
“I used to go home and cry every night and ask, ‘Why me? Why me? Why me?’” Jackson recalls in the clip below. “At some point I stopped being the victim of my disability.”
He began training to be a wrestler; he kept working — even when he lost 25 matches his first season — until he earned a win.
“The only real accommodation we had to make – and this was because he had trouble staying stable for long periods of time – is that he had to sit on the scale instead of stand,” Jackson’s coach, Gregory Theony, told CerebralPalsy.org.
In college, without a wrestling team, Jackson began powerlifting, a sport that he hopes to compete in at an international level.
“Despite my challenges I push myself everyday, overcoming any and all obstacles that sit in my path to success,” he writes on his Facebook page.
His journey thus far is documented in a powerful Gatorade ad called, “Ben Jackson, Never Finished” (below).
“What makes me different is not the physical you can see,” Jackson says in the video. “What makes me different is what’s inside my heart.”