Their Greatest Victory

24 Athletes Who Overcame Disease, Disability and Injury


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About the Book

This book profiles 24 athletes who overcame seemingly insurmountable medical odds to attain athletic success. Each profile describes the athlete’s problem, the medical issues he or she faced, how success was achieved despite the setback, and the personal qualities that helped the athlete to prevail. Part I features 15 athletes who dealt with diseases and physical disabilities, including Babe Didrikson Zaharias (cancer), Ron Santo (diabetes), Gail Devers (Graves’ disease), Alonzo Mourning (kidney disease), Wilma Rudolph (polio), Scott Hamilton (a pancreatic disorder in childhood) and Jimmy Abbott (born with one hand). Part II highlights nine athletes who dealt with ­near-­fatal or ­life-­changing accidents and injuries, including Bill Toomey, ­Three-­Finger Brown, Greg LeMond, Lou Brissie and Tommy John.

About the Author(s)

David L. Porter is Louis Tuttle Shangle Professor of History at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is author and editor of numerous books on American sports history.

Bibliographic Details

David L. Porter

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 304
Bibliographic Info: 52 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7305-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0247-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Part I. Diseases and Physical Disabilities 3

Cancer 3

 Jeff Blatnick 3

 Jon Lester 12

 Babe Didrikson Zaharias 22

Diabetes 33

 Gary Hall Jr. 33

 Ron Santo 42

Other Debilitating Diseases 55

 Gail Devers 55

 Alice Marble 66

 Alonzo Mourning 76

 Wilma Rudolph 86

Childhood Illnesses 97

 Scott Hamilton 97

 Bobby Jones 108

 Doris Hart 118

Physical Disabilities 127

 Jim Abbott 127

 Dummy Hoy 136

 Harry Greb 143

Part II. Accidents and Injuries 153

Accidents 153

 Glenn Cunningham 153

 Bill Toomey 165

 Three-­Finger Brown 174

 Mike Burton 184

 Ben Hogan 191

 Greg LeMond 202

Injuries 213

 Lou Brissie 213

 Rocky Bleier 222

 Tommy John 233

Conclusion: Qualities of Those Who Triumphed Over Adversity 245

Notes 251

Bibliography 271

Index 279