|Published:||Sep 22, 2012 10:21 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 22, 2012 10:49 PM EDT|
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral resident and two-time Paralympian, Paul Callahan, is being honored at the Miami Dolphin's halftime show on Sunday, September 23rd.
Wink News spoke to the captain of the USA Paralympic Sailing Team at his home. He says he's already preparing to go for the gold in Rio 2016.
"You go through the tunnel and you hear 100,000 people chanting USA. It makes you very proud to be an American," he said.
Paul Callahan was always an athlete. But at age 21, while attending Harvard, he slipped and fell on a wet floor breaking his neck and rendering him paralyzed from the chest down.
Years later, while on vacation, he was asked to go sailing and found his passion.
"I got on the boat and looked back and I saw my wheelchair and it was the first time since I'd been injured that I saw my chair and I wasn't in it," Callahan said.
The Harvard grad steers the sailboat with the help of gloves he wears attached to bicycle pedals.
"It was probably one of the most wonderful experiences anyone could ever have it their life," he said.
Sunday, the Miami Dolphins will honor Callahan and 23 fellow Florida athletes.
"To come and ask the Olympians and Paralympians to be honored is a great honor but not really a surprise, the way the Miami Dolphins conduct themselves," he said.
When he's not training or competing, Callahan is the CEO of Sail to Prevail, an organization that helps people with disabilities through therapeutic sailing.
"There's lots of things that people in wheelchairs can do and able bodied people can do. But just whatever you do, you just do your best and involve as many people as you can so you can share the victory," he said.
Callahan is now working with a team of naval architects and engineers to adapt the first ever 12-meter America's Cup Boat, to be handled by crew members with physical disabilities.
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