Paralympian visits USI - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Paralympian visits USI

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In 2004, Melissa Stockwell became the first woman to lose a limb in active combat during the Iraq war.

She now uses a prosthetic leg, but it hasn't stopped her from becoming a three time Paratriathlon World Champion. 

As Stockwell gears up for her morning ride, a packed house of USI students and faculty do the same.

They're spinning alongside a purple heart recipient, and paralympian who's now training for her first Iron man.

"On the bottom of my prosthetic there's a clip that's actually like mounted in, drilled in so I can clip in and i can get that full power stroke all the way around," says Stockwell

Stockwell lost her left leg nine years ago, when her humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

She spent a year at Walter Reed recovering.

"She was a perfect example of that," says Brian Kiessling, a USI Senior. "If she can do it then anybody should be able to do it."

Kinesiology major, Kiessling helped arrange Stockwell's visit. 

He says her speech, part of disability awareness week on campus, was very well received and a great motivating story.

"She didn't seem like she was ever down about it she was always looking on the bright side, like you gotta look at what you can do not what you can't do," says Kiessling.

"Hopefully if by telling my story if that can inspire someone to do something they didn't think was possible, or to get out there and to try something that they weren't sure they could do, if that inspires them to do that, that's kind of the cherry on top of all of it," says Stockwell. "And that's kind of what i hope to bring across to the audience is that dreams really can come true."

Stockwell is a certified prosthetics, helping fit other amputees for artificial limbs.

"I'm able to watch them take some of their first steps and it's just really incredible, so it changed my life in a lot of ways," says Stockwell. 

And perhaps her visit will change other lives on campus.

She's already inspired Kiessling to follow through on his goal of tackling a triathalon. 

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