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30830-Brandon Beack photo

Brandon Beack

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T52, F53

Further personal information

Residence
Cape Town, RSA
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
Afrikaans, English, French

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began training in Para athletics at age 20 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Why this sport?
He was introduced to coach Robert Evans while exploring rehabilitation options at the Sports Science Centre in Newlands, South Africa. Evans convinced him to pursue high performance sport again as he thought Beack needed something to aim for during his rehabilitation. "I was an athlete before and was craving a sense of achievement and something to work towards."
Club / Team
Maties ParaSport Club: Stellenbosch, RSA
Training Regime
He trains at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

International debut

Year
2017
Competing for
South Africa
Tournament
Grand Prix
Location
Paris, FRA

General interest

Nicknames
B (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hobbies
Gaming, model building, cooking, spending time with family, playing the guitar. (iol.co.za, 27 May 2020; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Finishing in second place at the 2017 Grand Prix in Paris, France. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Coach Robert Evans. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"When you feel like quitting, think about why you started." (ssisa.com, 02 May 2017)
Other sports
Before his accident he competed in gymnastics at national level in South Africa. (walkingwithbrandon.co.za, 15 Feb 2013)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Facebook profile, 28 Apr 2020)
Impairment
In August 2012 he was attempting a backward somersault dismount from the parallel bars during gymnastics training. He went too far sideways, missing the safety mats and landing on his head on concrete floor. He compressed the sixth and seventh vertebrae in his back, resulting in quadriplegia. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; health24.com, 21 Apr 2016; walkingwithbrandon.co.za, 15 Feb 2013)
Other information
PUBLIC SPEAKING
He works as a motivational speaker. "Public speaking is a passion I've only come to realise over the past couple of years. I love to share my story and what I have learned along this journey. It gives others strength, and in turn, it gives me strength." (Instagram profile, 21 Aug 2019, 07 Aug 2019)

GYMNASTICS
He competed in gymnastics at national level in South Africa before his accident. "I was pushing to become an Olympic gymnast, that was my dream. I trained every day, Monday to Saturday, three to five hours a day. That was my life. That, music and dance. Those were my three passions." (health24.com, 21 Apr 2016)

FOUNDATION
He co-founded the Walking With Brandon Foundation after realising there was a lack of outpatient neurological rehabilitation available in South Africa. He had experienced the benefits of a six-week therapy programme in Atlanta, GA, United States of America, and wanted to implement something similar in South Africa. The foundation and the University of Cape Town in South Africa have collaborated on a research project to show that the use of robotic walking suits increases the rate of spinal cord injury recovery. (Facebook page, 14 May 2020; physiqueunion.com, 16 Jan 2017; health24.com, 21 Apr 2016; walkingwithbrandonfoundation.org, 2016)