“I was given about a ten percent chance of survival. So they really didn’t think I was gonna make it.” said Nick Springer about his past.
He grew up an athlete.
In the summer of 1999, Nick Springer went on a hiking trip where he drank tainted water and contracted Meningococcemia, a rare form of Meningitis.
“I was induced into a coma after actually saying my final goodbye to my mother over the phone,” said Springer.
Three weeks later, he awoke from the coma. His hands were amputated below the elbow, and both legs were amputated at the knee. But he had survived.
“I was introduced to a sport through a sled hockey teammate called wheelchair rugby. And immediately, I was like, it just turned around my entire perception of my future. I had gotten my identity back, which was an athlete. I was on a team, I was with guys who didn’t treat me like I was different because they were the same as me. I was just one of the guys again. And that was – especially to a 14-year-old kid – that was huge.” said Springer.
Virginia G. Piper Fitness Coordinator Gabe Gerbic sees Springer on a regular basis.
“Nick’s one of the hardest workers on the team, he’s the fastest guy on the team. He, you know, definitely puts in the effort and really does work hard when he’s out there. It shows with his accomplishments on the court.” said Gerbic.
What accomplishments? Two Paralympic medals and two World Championships.
“I remember being up on the world stage in 2008, I remember being up on the podium getting my gold medal. And thinking back at that 11-year-old boy watching his countrymen get gold medals and thinking, ‘Now I’m one of them. Now I’m exactly where I wanna be.’ And it, it’s just a dream come true. It really is.”