Chris Ahrens has played soccer since age 4. He learned about Paralympic soccer in college at SUNY College of Brockport, where he was getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees in adapted physical education. He moved out to California to train and compete for a place on the Paralympics soccer team.
Chris joined the team in 2006, two years before the Beijing Games, which the team did not qualify for. Chris describes that experience in his MEDAL QUEST video: “It stung you a bit that you weren’t there.” Since then the team has moved up quickly, winning silver at the Copa America, the regional championships, in 2010; winning bronze at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England, and qualifying for London 2012.
To compete in Paralympic soccer, athletes must have a disability from cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or stroke. Like most of his teammates, Ahrens has cerebral palsy (CP). “It affects the entire left side of my body,” he says. “I was born with it. We think it came from a lack of oxygen from the umbilical cord being wrapped around my neck.”
When he’s not training or competing, Chris works as an adapted physical education teacher in the San Diego Unified School District. He tweets @chrisahrens and will be blogging for MEDAL QUEST in June.Back To Athletes