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23 Famous Paraplegics

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List of Famous People with Paraplegia, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Paraplegia is an impairment which causes paralysis in the lower limbs. Most people that become paraplegics have sustained serious spinal cord injuries. In some cases, paraplegia can be improved by extensive physical therapy and stem cell treatments.

Who is the most famous person with paraplegia? Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt tops our list. In 1921, Roosevelt contracted polio while on vacation in Canada. During the trip, Roosevelt fell into the water when he was boating. 16 days later he was paralyzed in both legs. Roosevelt did not like to be photographed in his wheelchair and he forced himself to learn to stand and walk short distances with the help of leg braces and a cane.

Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt was paralyzed in an assassination attempt. Flynt was shot by a white supremacist who was outraged about an interracial photo that Flynt ran in Hustler. After the injury, Flynt became addicted to pain killers and suffered a stroke as a result of the addiction. Despite this, he does not think that his assailant should get the death penalty.

How do you think these famous people adapted to the loss of mobility in their legs? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    In 1921, Franklin D. Roosevelt came down with polio, which paralyzed his legs.  Roosevelt wanted to keep this from the public, and thus there are very few photographs of him in a wheelchair.
    • Age: Dec. at 63 (1882-1945)
    • Birthplace: Hyde Park, New York, United States of America
    • Gender: Male

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  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    Former NBA center Shawn Bradley suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury after he was struck from behind by an automobile while riding his bicycle a block from his home in St. George, Utah. 

    The 7-foot-6 Bradley was the #2 overall pick in the 1993 draft, selected by the Philadelphia 76ers, and was one of the tallest men to ever play in the NBA.

    • Age: 48
    • Birthplace: Germany, Landstuhl
    • Gender: Male

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  • Photo: Murderball / ThinkFilm

    Mark Zupan, best known for his appearance in the famous sports documentary Murderball, is a wheelchair rugby player and the captain of the United States wheelchair rugby team which competed in the Paralympic Games in 2004. He was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident in 1993.

    • Age: 45
    • Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America
    • Gender: Male
  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Hustler founder Larry Flint became paralyzed in 1978 after an assassination attempt. Flynt was shot by a white supremacist who was angry about an interracial photo that Flynt published in Hustler.
    • Age: 77
    • Birthplace: Kentucky, United States of America
    • Gender: Male

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