McMurry University athlete battles through lifelong disability

Tanner Wright is the kicker for the McMurry University Football team and runs for the Track and Field team as well. However, his story goes beyond college athletics.

"People ask me how is it to play football with one arm or how is it running in track or kicking with one arm," said Wright,  a sophomore at McMurry University. "I always kind of reply with the same thing that I don't know how it is to do it with two arms."

Wright was born with a rare disability called arthrogryposis.

"I already feel extremely lucky to start with since this was supposed to be all around my body," said Wright. "It prohibits muscle growth, so I (don't) get much blood flow, I get muscle fatigue or, in some parts, I even lost muscle. I have no triceps, no forearm muscles."

"It makes all his performances on the track, in the field whatever he's doing seem even that much more special," said Brad Parris, the McMurry University Head Coach for Track and Field.

Wright said he is fortunate that the disability did not reach other parts of his body, and says the disease generally affects multiple limbs.

"I'm one of only just a handful, if not, one of one people that is born with this disability in one arm," said Wright.

With the three properly functioning limbs Wright has been blessed with, he has been able to do what some may believe to be unthinkable. For him, it is natural.

"I feel lucky it's only on one part of my body, I'm still able to run and kick and do all that stuff," said Wright.

Wright has done much more than just run and kick, as this past July, he competed on a global stage in London for the Para Athletics Championships.

"College came and I started running faster times and I thought this could be an actual possibility," said Wright.

"Just see him go and compete against the world's best and then just getting to see him excel and do so good on the football field with his kicking and everything, it's pretty surreal," said Will Cooper, the McMurry University Head Coach for Cross Country.

Wright also volunteers as a counselor at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, where he works with kids who are going through the struggles he himself continues to deal with.  As a class act and competitor, Wright has not ruled out competing in the next Paralympic Games, which are set to take place in Tokyo in 2020.


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