It’s not always the physical prowess of athletes that makes them world-class. Mental toughness, focus and resiliency are some of the makings of true sports stars.

If you’re looking for examples, look no further than Nick Springer, 27, who was part of the US Paralympics rugby team that took out the bronze medal in London this year. Struck down in 1999 by a case of bacterial meningitis at the age of 14, Springer refused to let go of life, even after being told that he had a 10% chance of survival and even after being read his last rites. Losing his hands and lower legs in a lifesaving operation, he chose to strive to become a top defender for the US in a game that would make able-bodied rugby players tremble at the knees.

Springer doesn’t let his disability hold him back – he’s a winner. In his first year in the national squad he helped them win a gold medal at the 2006 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. Two years later he was part of the team that won at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

“A disability might be permanent but being disabled isn’t. If I could trade never getting sick for all the experiences and all the memories, would I do it? There’s no way in hell. I’ve done things in my life I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
– Interview with Nick Springer, CBS News, July 2012

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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