Local man breaking records, hoping to inspire

By: Prentice Elliott Email
By: Prentice Elliott Email

There is a world record holder in Grovetown.
He's a 34-year-old retired military veteran who's turning heads in shot-put and discus with a workout regimen that would put 99 percent of the population to shame.

What makes Scott Winkler special though, may not be the records, or even the work ethic, but just the fact that he does it at all. He's one of the more impressive sights in the gym on any given day. Hefting massive wieghts and literally tossing them in the air in a training technique specific to the sport of shot-put.

Scott Winkler lifts 3 times a week and throws 3 times a week. And he does it all from a chair.

"I didn't know what to expect," Winkler saiys. "I thought it was the end of the world. I have a wife and kids. How do I support them? What do I do? Am I going to be dependant on everybody else? I don't want that. I just felt like giving up."

In May of 2003, serving as a specialist in the army, Winkler suffered spinal cord injuries after a fall in iraq and is now a paraplegic. He battled depression following his injury but with the support of family he fought through.

His real breakthrough though, came in large parts because of sports. It started with fishing and moved to basketball until he attended the Military Summitat the olympic training complex in Colorado.

"Mine was shot-put and discus," Winkler says. "I realize everybody has hidden talents and guess that's my hidden talent."

9 months after picking up a brand new sport, the former high school sprinter now owns a world record in shot-put with a throw of just over 10 meters. He's within shouting distance of the discus record as well and just qualified as the first Iraq War veteran to make the US Paralympic National team.

He throws using just his upper body without even the help of his abs, hence to workout regime. Hours of sweat spent not for personal glory but in the hope that others with disabilities can someday find an outlet like he did.

"And if I can inspire one person out there out of the millions of people to try a sport, that's my goal in life. That's what I believe in."

In addition to working with other disabled veterans and civilians, Winkler volunteers as the hospital chairman for the Southeastern Paralyzed Veterans of America.

If you would like more info on activities for people with disabilities,
check out these links:

Paralyzed Veterans of America,
http://www.pva.org
Walton Rehabilitation Clinic,
http://www.wrh.org
US Paralympics
http://www.usoc.org/paralympics


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