• December 20, 2014

Adaptive sports help athlete overcome disability

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Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 1:25 pm, Thu May 23, 2013.

Adam Henning, 38, worked three jobs, was an avid runner and very active in sports before he lost his left leg in an accident.

Henning recently recalled that frightening day when he was operating heavy equipment at work in Temple.

“I was operating a standup forklift that has what’s called a dead man,” he said. “When you step off of it, then the forklift is suppose to stop, but it didn’t stop and crushed me against a beam pole that holds the ceiling up.”

Doctors couldn’t save his leg, and Henning spent the next year in a state of depression.

“It was really rough,” he said. “I really didn’t like letting people look at me and kept my leg covered.”

Henning was given a prosthetic leg, which he learned to use without formal instruction. More than four years ago, he was introduced to adaptive sports and invited to join the Harker Heights wheelchair basketball team. The sport helped him gain confidence.

“All I wear now is shorts because I am not ashamed of it,” Henning said. “It’s now become a strength for me rather than a weakness.”

Henning now plays sports and rock climbs. He played in a wheelchair basketball tournament last weekend hosted by the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department.

The tournament was developed three years ago by Joe Brown, a former department superintendent.

“He worked really hard to get a grant through the United States Olympic committee and the (U.S.) Paralympics, so we are a registered paralympic sport club,” said Samantha Hanie, tournament director.

Nearly a dozen teams across Texas competed in Saturday’s tournament at Harker Heights High School.

“There are not many tournaments in Texas, and it’s a pretty tight-knit group,” Hanie said.

Whenever he can, Henning takes the opportunity to share stories with the veterans who play on the Harker Heights team and encourages others with similar disabilities to stay active.

“I tell everybody who is depressed to keep your head up and don’t let your disability define you and always find a positive in what you do,” he said.

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