Sarah Castle started her summer with the culmination of her law school career – graduation and the bar exam. She’ll end her summer with the culmination of her athletic career –the 2012 London Paralympic Games where she will compete in wheelchair basketball.
Sarah has spent the last few months not only training for the games, but also for Tuesday’s bar examination through the law school’s bar prep program. Participants in this program have found great bar passage success: 100 percent of the program’s participants passed the February 2012 bar exam, while 98 percent passed the July 2011 exam.
“The balancing act of school, work and basketball is a tough one. It requires time management and planning. I had to plan school around basketball, and basketball around school, and then work around both,” Sarah said reflecting on juggling her priorities. “It’s a huge undertaking but I think I manage pretty well.”
During the school year, Sarah had to drive to Columbia for training and would stay at her coach’s house before heading back in the morning to attend school or work. It paid off, though, when Sarah made the 2011 ParaPan team and competed in Guadalajara, Mexico, last November.
When Sarah was 11, she was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, a condition that caused partial paralysis. Sports became her passion, and she won a silver medal at the 2000 games in swimming and competed again in 2004. After a shoulder injury, she turned to basketball as her new sport.
“I have to tell people that I am an athlete because it’s rarely the first thing people think when then they see a person with a disability,” Sarah said. “Paralympics is the Olympic competition for people with disabilities. It parallels the Olympics and occurs in the same venues as the Olympic Games, just three weeks later. The Summer Paralympic Games is actually the second largest sporting event in the world, second only to the Summer Olympic Games, but it goes greatly unnoticed in the United States.”
This year will be the end of both Sarah’s law school and basketball career. She anticipates her next challenge will be work in disability law or public policy. She’d also like to stay involved in the developmental side of wheelchair basketball.
Whatever path she chooses, the determination and balance she learned while training as a professional athlete and a law student will serve her well.
“As many times as I have wanted to quit something, I never have. I think it’s a matter of pride and a matter of proving to myself that anything is possible,” Sarah said. “It is my job to push myself to the limits and to see just how far I can go on a daily basis. I think a lot of it is just me, trying to prove to the world that I can conquer anything.”
To see Sarah’s journey featured on Kansas City’s KSHB news, click here.
Update on Paralympic Media Coverage:
- Read Sarah’s blog with updates from an athlete’s perspective as well as event schedule
- The International Paralympic Committee will stream almost 600 hours of games.
- The 2012 London Paralympic Games website will also be a great place to check in on the team and the Games.
- US Paralympic dedicated channel on YouTube. Beginning on August 29 and continuing through the conclusion of the Games on September 9, U.S. Paralympics will chronicle the competition, athlete stories and will also include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.