Athlete With Cerebral Palsy Set To Do Triathlon

In Lyons, Kansas, a triathlon is no match for amateur athlete Robert Hammer Jr ..
He has cerebral palsy.
Hammer is not looking to win first place, he says; rather, he just wants to cross
the finish line of the sixth annual Salty Dog Triathlon. The event happens this August, and 48-year-old Hammer plans
to compete in a borrowed racing wheelchair. Hammer was inspired to participate
in the Salty Dog competition because of his doctor, who has done it for the last
two years.
Robert Hammer Jr. was born with
cerebral palsy, but even though it affects his lower body – including
his legs and knees – he's set on competing in the swimming, running and biking
parts of the triathlon. The racing wheelchair is what Hammer will use in the
running category, which presents the greatest challenge to him.
Hammer has been preparing for the competition by doing practice runs in Kansas'
Carey Park. Strong and motivated, Hammer has earned the nickname "Hammerman." In
preparation for the triathlon, Hammer also works on his upper body strength,
usually bench pressing about 100 pounds. This is a safety measure, he says, in
case he falls.
Cerebral palsy is not a disorder or a disease. Cerebral palsy is actually a
group of chronic conditions that make it difficult for cerebral palsy sufferers
to control body movement. A cause of cerebral palsy is damage that happens to
specific areas of the brain during fetal development or infancy. Cerebral palsy
is not contagious, but it makes many things very difficult for those who suffer
from it as well as for their families. Muscle coordination and movements like
walking can be very tough.
Hammer is no doubt an inspiration not only to those with cerebral palsy, but
also people all over the world.