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Ardmore woman earns silver medal in Paralympics after accident

Monique Burkland, 23, of Ardmore, lost the lower part of her left leg after a forklift accident when she was 18. Burkland earned a spot on the 2012 U.S. Women's Paralympic sitting volleyball team, earning a silver medal in the London 2012 Summer Paralympics.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: November 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012

It was only her fifth day on the job.

Monique Burkland was moving a pallet using a standup forklift when her foot got caught between two forklifts.

“When I looked down, my foot was just mangled — the bones were protruding through my shoe,” Burkland said. “I just thought to myself ‘Well, this can't be good.'”

The days following the accident, Burkland's lower left leg would be amputated, and she would start the long recovery process of working with a prosthesis.

But this isn't a sad story about Burkland's accident. Rather, this is the story of how Burkland has become an inspiration to many, including her doctor.

“She inspires me when she comes, she makes me smile, and she has accomplished a goal that less than 1 percent in the world could ever think of doing,” said Dr. William Ertl, an orthopedic surgeon at OU Physicians.

Burkland, of Ardmore, is a Paralympic silver medalist. She is a member of the 2012 U.S. Women's Paralympic sitting volleyball team.

In September, the team won a silver medal after losing to China for the gold medal. Burkland has been on the sitting volleyball team since 2010.

Two years after her accident, Burkland saw a pamphlet in the doctor's office for a sitting volleyball team based at the University of Central Oklahoma. She soon scheduled a tryout date and began the training process, going to camps to learn the sport.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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