Paralyzed Liberty Center senior inspires as he competes in state - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Paralyzed Liberty Center senior inspires as he competes in state track championship

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LIBERTY CENTER, OH (Toledo News Now) -

This weekend is the championships of baseball, softball, and track in the state of Ohio. Down in Columbus, there's a young man from Liberty Center whose dream, like everybody else, is to win a medal.

Robert Burns just wanted a chance. No matter what happens this weekend at his last state track meet, Burns already feels like he's won big.

"Being allowed to compete in those events, it's the greatest experience I ever had," said Burns.

It's an experience that at one time he thought wasn't possible. The 18-year-old Liberty Center senior suffers from Spina Bifida, a birth defect that paralyzed him from the knees down.

While Burns was always active growing up, he never was able to participate in school sports. Then in 2012, the OHSAA created track and field events for athletes with physical limitations.

"Being part of the team is amazing. I don't feel left out of things anymore," said Burns.

That's because he is quite active in the sport. He competes in four different events: the shot put, the 100, 400, and 800 meter races. He especially loves 800 because it lets his arms get into a good rhythm.

"It's a lot harder than we as wheel chair athletes make it look. It's completely all cardio," said Burns.

He's a fierce competitor. He loves to win. It's what drives him. Burns' days as a high school athlete will end after this weekend. Win or lose, he's proud. His example may have inspired others.

"Letting people know this is something new. Don't be afraid to do it. I'm helping people," said Burns.

And he is inspiring others that nothing is impossible.

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