Haxton’s long “Row” to Rio for Paralympic Games

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Seven years ago, Blake Haxton’s family and friends were preparing to say goodbye. Doctors thought they couldn’t save his life. Haxton was in a coma in a hospital bed, having contracted a rare bacterial condition known as necrotizing fascitis, or the flesh-eating disease.

This summer, Blake Haxton could represent his country at the Paralympic Games.

Haxton is competing this weekend at the US Rowing Paralympic Trials in Sarasota, Florida. He hopes to secure a spot on Team USA for the Paralympic Games later this summer in Brazil. A year ago he finished 5th at the World Championships in his single sculls arms & shoulders 1,000m category.

But training for the games has only represented a fraction of Haxton’s time. He’s preparing to take his final exams to complete law school at Ohio State. He’ll be studying during his trip to Florida.

Haxton’s recovery appeared miraculous. After 20 surgeries and more than 100 days in the hospital, Haxton left OSU Medical Center with his life, but without his legs.

Haxton had been an elite rower in high school at Upper Arlington and for months after his illness Blake had no plans to try adaptive rowing. But with some urging, he discovered the sport and quickly realized he was a natural. He was soon among the best in America.

Blake also spends time as a guest speaker, inspiring audiences with his personal story and his perspective on life.

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