U.S. Paralympian April Holmes received the 2015 Inspiration Award at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Honors Celebration, held in conjunction with the NCAA Convention, January 15-18, in Washington. The award is presented to a coach or administrator currently associated with intercollegiate athletics, or to a current or former varsity letter winner at an NCAA institution “who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, used perseverance, dedication, and determination to overcome their trauma and, most importantly, are role models giving hope and inspiration to others in similar situations,” according to the NCAA. Holmes is a former Norfolk State University track and field student-athlete who runs the April Holmes Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and medical equipment to people with physical and learning disabilities.
Holmes, who has a left transtibial amputation, won a gold medal in the 100m at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, and a bronze medal in long jump at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. At the 2004 games, she also set world records in the 100m and 200m sprints.
“I never went through a period of wondering ‘why me [after the accident that claimed my leg],'” Holmes told the NCAA. “If I hadn’t learned early in athletics how to persevere, had I not been an athlete, I’m not sure I would have made it.”