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Girl born without legs, arm trains for Paralympic Games

August 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
What you notice about Breanna Sprenger is her infectious smile, her determination and everything she has to overcome.

Sprenger was born without legs and without her right arm. Doctors didn't think she would make it out of the hospital.

"We planned a funeral for Breanna," said Sprenger's mother, Carrie.

But the tiny little girl began proving everyone wrong. Last year, she told her physical therapist she wanted to walk, and that's exactly what she did.

"She can accomplish anything she decides she wants to," said Ann Marie Pace, a physical therapist at the Cleveland Clinic. "She really has no limitations. Part of the joy of that is she is a very typical10-year-old child. A bright little girl."

She's now focusing that same determination on her swimming and trains three days a week.

"I like to swim because I can do more things in the water than on the land," said Sprenger.

She even competes against kids without disabilities.

"I always come in last, but I beat my time every single time," she said.

Although Sprenger keeps a smile on her face, growing up has not been easy. Her tiny body has required numerous surgeries, including procedures for a hernia, hip surgery and a procedure to repair her lungs.

But her ultimate goal?

"I want to go to the Paralympic Games someday," she said.

She wants to be like her hero, Kayla Wheeler, a 16-year-old who was born exactly like Sprenger. Wheeler is headed to the games in London, holding a world record in the 50 meter butterfly.

"Her journey from there has been a crazy one. She proved us all wrong," said Sprenger's mother.

There's no doubt Sprenger will get there and will keep motivating others to go for the gold. She hopes to be at the Paralympic Games, representing the USA in 2016.

"Don't ever doubt children with a disability, because they can prove you wrong," she said.


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