A runner at the University of Oregon by the name of Justin Gallegos recently made history by being signed as the first Nike professional athlete with cerebral palsy. Gallegos made the announcement that he signed the agreement with Nike via video on his Instagram page, which you can see below.
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Today on world Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I reached a milestone in my running journey! Today I made Nike history and became the very first athlete with Cerebral Palsy to sign a contract with Nike! You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes! Signing this contract was a huge success for me and I would not have made it without my friends and family and teammates! This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running! Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest! It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor! Hard work pays off! Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars! But the journey is damn sure not over!!! Looking back, I would guess there is only a few select people who would see me were I am today! I have gone through just about everything in the book to be where I am today! I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put on foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process! And most of all trust in God! God is good! Thank you to all my friends, family, and teammates on running club, and now a brand new atmosphere on teammates with Nike! This moment will live forever! Thank you everyone for helping show the world that there is No Such Thing As A Disability! #ProfessionalAthlete #SWOOSH #Nike72 #NikeTrackandField #NikeXC #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 Video Credits: @elevation0m
After he finished one of his races about a week ago, a camera crew approached him, along with some of his teammates, led by John Douglass, who is Nike's Insights director, telling him about the deal. And what made this agreement even more special was that it happened on Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder which affects motor skills, movement and muscle tone. A person with cerebral palsy usually shows various signs of some physical impairment. But, there are different types of movement dysfunction, as well as the number of limbs involved and the location, along with the extent of this impairment, which all vary from person to person. People with cerebral palsy have a difficult time controlling their muscles, as they can contract too little, too much or even all at the same time. Which means that things, like sitting, walking, tying shoes, or even grasping objects and running, may be difficult for some people.
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This past week was truly amazing! Thank you to all my fans for the support and the love! Very excited to get started working with the swoosh crew and even more excited for my debut race as a professional athlete. I wouldn’t be where I am without all the people who support me and lift me up here at home and all over the world! Looking forward to meeting all my new Nike teammates sometime very soon. Might have put my name in the Nike history book but I’m certainly far from done! Excited to continue to make my mark the world! #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 #SwooshFamily #Flyease #FlyeaseMenality #NikeTrackandField #NikeXC #RockTape #GoStrongerLonger #ClinicallyProven #Xendurance #Recovery #GoldStandard #RunGum #RunTheDay #GodIsGood Photo Credit: @itaiepstein
When Gallegos was a toddler and a pre-schooler, he used a walker to move around, and he also did a lot of physical therapy so he could improve his walking abilities, because he was practically unable to "put one foot in front of the other". He first fell in love with running itself back when he was in grade 9. One of his coaches back then had gone to the University of Oregon, so Gallegos decided to study there as well, and compete in the running club. When he first started to run, he was falling a lot. However, according to his father, Gallegos would still pick himself up, and finish the run, bloody knees and all. Then, in high school, he started to compete in long-distance running. And nowadays, despite his disability, he's able to run a seven-minute mile. That's when Nike heard of Gallegos, while the company was also developing a shoe which is designed to help runners with disabilities. The rest, as they say, is history.