SPORTS `N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year heads to Ireland to represent Team USA at the 2018 IWAS Youth Games
For 15-year-old Jason Robinson, growing up with a disability was fun. And while that may sound unusual to the general public, for Robinson, it’s simply part of who he was and continues to be.
The Rome, N.Y., native was born with a rare congenital abnormality known as Spinal Segmental Dysgenesis (SSD) where segments of the spinal-cord fail to develop properly. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, Robinson was motivated into a lifetime of athletic achievements and personal best records in track and field and hopes his continued hard training and steadfast focus will carry him to breaking more records.
“I never really look at myself as being different,” says Robinson. “This disability is my normal. I had to make many adaptations to everyday life activities but once I got used to doing things different, everything just became normal.”
Robinson first got involved with track and field in 2013 while competing in road racing and was learned about a wheelchair track and field team in New Jersey, called the North Jersey Navigators.
Since he lived in New York, his coach would email workouts and drills for him to do and then Robinson would travel to the events in New Jersey and Junior Nationals to compete with his team.
“Wheelchair racing has helped me in my everyday life by giving me new friends and goals to strive for,” says Robinson. “I’ve made a lot of friends through wheelchair racing and I’m glad that I have so many great people in my life.”
Robinson says time management is one of his biggest challenges, having to balance the workload of school and his hectic schedule of sports, but credits his family, friends and coaches for helping keep him focused.
Robinson has competed in a number of national competitions, recording personal bests of 9:29.30 in the 3,000-meter, 4:21.39 in the 1,500-meter and 2:07.21 in the 800-meter just to name a few and just so happens to be our 2017 SPORTS `N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year.
“One way in which I stay focused during training is remembering my goals,” says Robinson. “When I focus on the goals and the reasons that I’m training it helps me focus on improving myself and improving the way I push. On hard days in training it helps me to think of these goals that I set for myself, so I can keep going and put full effort in on each of my workouts so that the outcome will be what I want it to be.”
Wheelchair sports have been key in helping Robinson focus on his many goals, like improving his personal bests, aiming for the Paralympics and competing at the various events across the country and the world.
Robinson is going to get the chance to represent the United States when he and fellow teammates head to Ireland later this summer to compete in the 2018 IWAS Youth Games.
“To be on Team USA is amazing,” says Robinson. “I’ve always wanted to represent my country and I’m finally able to complete one of my goals. I’m very happy to represent Team USA and I am thankful for everyone who has helped me through this journey.
Robinson will be competing in the under 17 T/54 classification in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter and 1,500-meter races over the week-long event hoping to capture gold for the U.S. and add some impressive achievements to an already stellar athletic resume’.
Robinson offers some sound advice to those up and coming athletes saying, “Never give up. There will be hard training days and you won’t always get PR’s in all of your races but use that experience as a learning experience and keep going.”
If you have a dream, big or small, keep pushing and pushing until you reach that dream.