Hardin-Simmons athlete defying odds, competing on an international level

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Lacing up his shoes and setting his mark may look a little different for Tanner Wright, but when it comes to running, he’s sprinting past the competition.

“We want to fill our roster with Tanner Wrights,” said Hardin-Simmons University Track and Cross Country coach Zach Leggett.

Leggett says that not just because of Tanner’s speed, but his commitment to the sport.

“He’s defied all the odds. As a coach, you don’t find a lot of people that have the passion and the drive that he has, and for him to be able to share that with the team, it’s just amazing,” said Leggett.

Tanner was born with Arthrogryposis, one of the only recorded cases of the muscle stiffness in one arm.

“It causes a loss of range of motion, and it also affects my shoulder, my pectoral, my back a little bit and I even have a little scoliosis from it,” said Hardin-Simmons University athlete Tanner Wright.

Even with those setbacks, Tanner says nothing could keep him from the track or even the football field.

“When it comes to being a kid and living with it and going through sports with a disability, it’s really just at the beginning, I just wanted to do what my brother wanted to do,” said Wright. “When he started playing football, then I started wanting to play football and any sport that there was if he did it then I wanted to do it and I wanted to be better than him.”

Wright is now making his way to compete alongside Team USA in the Parapan American Games. A competition that for Tanner isn’t just about getting the best time, but showing those younger athletes that they can do anything they put their mind to.

“Find your niche, find whatever you want to do and find whatever you’re good at, and whatever you like doing, just keep fighting,” said Wright.

Wright will be competing in the Parapan American Games in Peru from Aug 23 to Sept. 1.

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