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USA's Deja Young celebrates after winning gold in women's 200m T44 final at Rio 2016

Deja Young

Athletics
2

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Impaired range of motion
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T46

Further personal information

Family
Partner Timothy Craddock
Residence
Mesquite, TX, USA
Languages
English, Spanish
Higher education
Social Work Studies - Wichita State University: United States

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She got involved in athletics in high school. "I have been running for years but I didn't discover Para athletics until I was asked at one of my college meets."
Why this sport?
"The community was so inviting and it allowed me to not only travel but to find myself."
Training Regime
She trains at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, United States of America.

International debut

Year
2015
Competing for
United States
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Doha, QAT

General interest

Hobbies
Writing, drawing. (teamusa.org, 31 Dec 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning the T47 200m at the 2017 World Championships in London, England. (Athlete, 20 Jul 2017)
Hero / Idol
US sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner. (Athlete, 20 Jul 2017)
Injuries
She tore her right wrist and fractured her left wrist after she was involved in a car accident in 2016. She returned to competition in May 2017, but the injuries affected her training in the build-up to the 2017 World Championships. (paralympic.org, 02 Jun 2019; Athlete, 20 Jul 2017)

In May 2015 she separated her right shoulder after throwing a backpack over a fence. (kansas.com, 10 Jun 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You are the only person that can stop you." (Athlete, 20 Jul 2017)
Other sports
She competed in able-bodied athletics at collegiate level for Wichita State University in the United States of America. (kansas.com, 06 Sep 2016; teamusa.org, 31 Dec 2019)
Milestones
At the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, she was a member of the United States team that won the first world championship gold medal in the universal 4x100m relay. (paralympic.org, 14 Nov 2019)
Ambitions
To break the world record in the T47 100m. (paralympic.org, 02 Jun 2019)
Impairment
She was born with shoulder dystocia, the result of a doctor pulling on her head too hard during delivery. She has nerve damage in her right shoulder, which limits her arm movement. (dallasobserver.com, 14 Oct 2016; teamusa.org, 19 Sep 2016; kansas.com, 10 Jun 2015)
Other information
CAREER PATH
She originally intended to study medicine, before switching to social work studies. "Originally I was pre-med. [But] after organic chemistry, I hated it, and I was miserable. And I thought, what's another way I can help people? I love to talk. I love to be hands-on with the community, and I thought social work. That's perfect for me. I loved it. Winning would be great, but if I can make an impact, save a life with my story of suicide, or how I can talk about the youth is important, have someone go for their dreams, that will make me happy." (teamusa.org, 13 Nov 2019)

DEALING WITH DEPRESSION
She struggled with anxiety and depression in the lead-up to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and attempted suicide ahead of the Games. She recovered and went on to compete in Rio de Janeiro, but experienced another period of depression in late 2016 after she was involved in a serious car accident, and needed to be cared for by her mother as her injuries meant she could not use her hands. "It was a long process and very mentally draining. I went through a very deep depression and it was really hard. What got me through was focusing on my love for athletics. Giving up on it wasn't an option as it had got me so far and I knew it could take me further. I knew that my story could not only help myself but help others. That's one of my biggest things, I want to do more. I want to speak on mental health, on breaking down barriers. I like to tell people that you take care of your body because you want to stay healthy, your mind is the same. Your mind needs to be fed positive things. They both need to be healthy for you to function." (paralympic.org, 02 Jun 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She served as an athlete mentor as part of the Sports Envoy Program of the US State Department to Nigeria in 2018. (teamusa.org, 31 Dec 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T47 Heat 2 2015-10-27 2
Women's 200 m T47 Final 1 2015-10-28 2
Women's 100 m T47 Heat 2 2015-10-29 2
Women's 100 m T47 Final 1 2015-10-30 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T47 Heat 2 2016-09-10 1
Women's 100 m T47 Final Round 2016-09-11 1
Women's 200 m T47 Heat 2 2016-09-15 1
Women's 200 m T47 Final Round 2016-09-16 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T47 Heat 2 2017-07-14 2
Women's 200 m T47 Final 1 2017-07-15 1
Women's 100 m T47 Final 1 2017-07-18 1