Mind over matter: Monroe student achieves the unachievable
Benjamin Jackson was born with Hemiplegic Cerebral palsy, a disorder affecting the motor function in the left side of his body.
His physical limitations mean standing, sitting or walking for too long can cause his joints to cramp up. He is also faced with body spasms throughout the day.
When he was diagnosed, doctors predicted Ben’s daily life would be a struggle.
“Growing up, I used to see all these great athletes on T.V and each person that I saw had an amazing story,” Jackson said.
“But none of their stories matched up with mine. So I set out to tell my own,” he added.
As a child, Ben overcame the odds to play basketball for the team his dad coached; an impressive feat for someone who was never expected to be able to walk.
As he grew up, Ben moved on from basketball to train in street hockey, soccer, street football and judo. In eighth grade, Ben began wrestling for Pocono Mountain West Junior High School and continued on wrestling in Pocono Mountain West High School where he was awarded the Ben Jackson Courage award after his senior year wrestling season.
“Training for sports has always been difficult, so I accept the fact that it will be difficult, and then use that drive to become the very best athlete that I can be,” Jackson declared.
Attending the NCC Monroe campus and majoring in Communications, Ben, 21, developed a passion for athletics which motivated him to surpass everyone’s expectations. With the support of his family, coaches and team mates, he is now cross training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in powerlifting and swimming.
“Sports have always been a part of my life,” he said.
“For me, it’s a great way to condition not only the body, but it also does wonders for my mind as well.”
In July of this year, Ben was featured in the Gatorade ad “Ben Jackson – Never Finished” as part of the company’s #WINFROMWITHIN campaign, and in August he was invited to the Under Armour Performance Center in Maryland to share his story with the Baltimore Ravens football team.
Aside from his athletic goals, Jackson is also planning to fulfill his academic dreams at Northampton.
“I want to receive my communications degree, and use that degree to become a motivational speaker and travel all around the world to inspire others,” he said.
“Each day is a challenge. But I insist on taking on that challenge each day,” Jackson added.
Check out Ben’s Gatorade ad below: