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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 wasn't easy. Burkland and her teammates do not play sitting volleyball in wheelchairs. Rather, they are on the floor, lunging forward as the ball flies through the air.

The sport takes significant upper-body strength and endurance. During a sitting volleyball match, a part of an athlete's body between the buttocks and the shoulder must be in contact with the court whenever a shot, or attempt at a shot, is made, according to the London 2012 Paralympic Games website.

When Burkland first started, she was slower than her teammates on drills and felt like she was doing horribly.

“They were all really encouraging,” Burkland said. “They were like, ‘That's how we all started out. Once you figure out how you move better, then you'll get faster,' which happened.”

It was a proud day when Ray Bachmeier watched on YouTube as his granddaughter played sitting volleyball in the London 2012 Paralympics.

Burkland has always had a natural athleticism and was an all-state softball player in high school. After her accident, she wanted to continue playing sports.

“I always encouraged her, and I've always told her if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well,” Bachmeier said. “So, she has lived that lifestyle, and I think she keeps a positive attitude, and she makes good decisions.”

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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