She said that her club was a great place to 'get on with [the gymnastics] like everyone else does.'
People with disabilities are often considered incapable of attaining great heights, even more so if it's a physically taxing sport. But Hannah Louise never let such a mindset stop her from achieving her goal. She now wants to qualify for a chance to retain her national school championship title. Louise, 18 years old, is competing in a regional qualifier in Fenton Manor on February 18, Saturday.
She has hypermobile joints due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. MayoClinic defines the syndrome as, "Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provide strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body." She started doing disability acrobatic gymnastics about 4 years ago. She said that her club was a great place to "get on with [the gymnastics] like everyone else does," as reported by BBC.
While talking about her condition, Louise said, "So my joints are very loose and they dislocate very easily. So I had to learn a new way of living because my whole life revolved around sports. With gymnastics, I can only go up to being national level. So being British champion, I can't go any further." She added, "My condition is counted as variable. So it's different from day to day. So I can understand that they wouldn't want to classify me but then at the end of the day, I'm disabled and I can't do the same as everyone else."
Louise also shared all the difficulties she faces due to her condition, "Joints do dislocate in training. Every night I'm here, a joint will dislocate at some point but I've learned to deal with it. I can come here and I know that everyone's just going to treat me as if I'm just a normal person. It's just a nice outlet to come here and just get on with it like everyone else does and not be treated differently." However, she also added that she has chronic pain and fatigue and uses a wheelchair as she cannot walk long distances.
In another inspiring story about a person with a disability, Oksana Masters was born with one kidney, a half stomach, six toes on each foot, webbed fingers on each thumbless, lacked shinbones in both of her legs and her left leg was six inches shorter than her right. She was given up for adoption by her biological family and lived in three orphanages. At the age of seven, fortunately, was adopted by a single American woman. Today, she is a multi-sport Paralympic athlete.
Oksana was quick when it came to mobility, so learning to walk and run with prosthetics was easier for her. She had multiple surgeries reconstructive surgeries in America to better the use of both of her hands. "I had figured out by that point that sports were a kind of therapy for her and I signed her up for horseback riding lesson," Gay said. "I told her it was a state law in Kentucky that everyone learned how to ride a horse." For Oksana, sports were her escape and her therapy saying, "I didn't like the idea of a sport that was geared towards people with disabilities," she said. "I wanted to feel like everyone else."