Roderick Sewell never dreamed of participating in sports as he and his mother lived hand to mouth. Today, he is a swimmer representing Team USA.
Roderick had both legs amputated before his second birthday due to severe deformities that prevented him from walking. Roderick’s mother quit her job so that California Children’s services would pay for prosthetics since her modest income couldn’t provide enough to cover them.
Roderick became homeless. It wasn’t until a representative from Challenged Athletes Foundation met Roderick that he even considered playing sports. Suddenly, Roderick realized he wasn’t alone.
Roderick met Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a fellow bilateral above-knee amputee. Friendship and support quickly formed through solidarity and Roderick found him following Rudy onto the track then eventually into the water.
“Sports changed my attitude about life,” explains Roderick. “As soon as I started doing sports, I became very competitive and saw everything as a challenge that I had to get through. I started seeing life the same way, as a challenge that I could get through.”
Roderick has since competed in the 2014 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, bringing home a Gold and Bronze medal. He has also become the first in his family to graduate college with a Public Communications degree from the University of Northern Alabama.