Sometimes you hear a voice – perhaps on the phone or radio – and you just know that the speaker is smiling. You hear it.
That’s Rose Hollermann. And wherever she is – in school, at home, or in London participating in the 2012 U.S. Paralympics – that smile is beaming her love of sports and life.
“If I had not gotten involved with Courage Center (now Courage Kenny) Sports & Rec programs when I was little, I never would have achieved my dream of competing in the Paralympics,” Hollermann said. And compete she did, as the youngest member – 16 – ever to be chosen to compete on the Paralympics U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team.
Hollermann was 5 years old when her spinal cord was injured in a car accident. At 6, she went to Courage Center (now Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute) and participated in physical therapy and swimming.
“That was the beginning. I got on the swim team at Courage Center and became interested in sports and competition. Later, I tried wheelchair basketball, and I just loved it!”
At Courage Center, Hollermann had the opportunity to challenge herself by trying many new sports. In grade school she excelled at track and field, including discus, shot put and distance races. Soon she added archery, tennis and cross-country skiing to her list of interests – and accomplishments. And she became a local-, then national-level, star in wheelchair basketball, playing with Courage Center’s Rolling Timberwolves.
Hollermann now plays basketball in college as she earns a Bachelor’s Degree and possibly a Master’s. Her career interests are open, ranging from speech pathology to athletic science.
“The best thing about my link with Courage Center is the people I’ve met,” she said. “We’re more than teammates: we’re family and best friends. You know, I can have a bad day at school, or wherever, and not carry that around with me because I know my sports friends will see me through. Just imagine what confidence that gives me to tackle the tough things in life!”