20-year-old Shelby Jensen, a student at Salt Lake Community College, is preparing for the Paralympic Games that begin August 24 in Tokyo, Japan.
At the age of seven, Jensen suffered a stroke, which required emergency surgery. She was paralyzed on her right side and spent months in rehabilitation learning how to speak, walk, swallow as well as write with her left hand.
She now wears a brace on her right leg and her right arm has become more of a “helper” or an assist due to her stroke.
Jensen received a recommendation to try wheelchair fencing and discovered she enjoyed the sport immensely.
According to The Fountain, during the competition, “the athletes sit in a wheelchair, which is then attached to a frame to keep the chair stationary during competition. Points are scored through an electronic sensor at the tip of each weapon – the saber, foil and epee.”
“Wheelchair fencing has opened more doors than I think would have if I was able-bodied. Doing a sport means everything to me, along with being with like-minded individuals with other disabilities. Being able to see what we, what they can do – it’s amazing,” Jensen told The Fountain.
She plans to graduate from SLCC in the spring of 2022 and would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and work as a sports nutritionist for athletes.
Jensen has an interest in working as a recreational therapist as well. She currently works in the adaptive sports program for Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation.
Jensen won the women’s epee and women’s saber competitions and placed second in women’s foil during USA Fencing’s July Challenge and Parafencing National Championships at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City over the weekend. She will compete in two individual and two team competitions each in Tokyo in August.
The delayed 2020 Paralympic Games begin August 24.