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Paralympian Sam Grewe had osteosarcoma at 13, chose amputation 'to return to sports'

Sam Grewe, 23, came into the limelight he won the high jump T42 world title at just 17-years-old in 2015
UPDATED AUG 25, 2021
Sam Grewe's prosthetist recommended para-athletics (Instagram @samgrewe)
Sam Grewe's prosthetist recommended para-athletics (Instagram @samgrewe)

As the Tokyo Paralympics has started, American paralympic high-jumper, Sam Grewe is looking to repeat his victorious feat from Rio 2016. The paralympics this year features 22 sports with Badminton and Taekwondo making their debut. 4,537 athletes of 163 nations are set to participate in the 540 events.

Grewe, who participates in T42/F42 events won a silver medal in Rio 2016. In addition to that, Sam has won 3 gold medals in high jump in World Championships in the years 2015, 2017 and 2019. Grewe contracted osteosarcoma aged 13 due to which a pseudo-amputation procedure called a rotationplasty was performed on his right leg. Grewe was diagnosed with bone cancer in his right leg in 2011, because of which his leg was amputated above the knee the following year. Grewe spoke of his injury and said, "The artificial joints they would have had to put in would be too fragile for me to ever return to sports. So I decided to go with the amputation just to provide even the slightest option, the slightest possibility, of a return to athletics."


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Sam Grewe (Instagram @samgrewe)

Grewe, 23 came into the limelight when he won the high jump T42 world title at just 17-years-old in 2015. He currently plays for the University of Notre Dame Track and Field Team. Before his amputation in 2012, the University of Notre Dame football team adopted Grewe allowing him to be on the field for games. He was cancer-free after a year and returned to athletics. It was then he discovered the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA), a Paralympic sport club based in Lake Forest, Illinois and in less than a year, Grewe progressed from his first Paralympic competition at the 2015 Desert Challenge Games to representing Team USA at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where he won the men’s high jump world title. Grewe is in great form this year and looks forward to beating Arnold Boldt’s world record of 1.96m set back in 1980.

According to Grewe's profile on the International Paralympic Committee, his prosthetist recommended para-athletics. Speaking of the same, Sam once said, "Playing [American] football, basketball and lacrosse after my amputation I was never really all that good. It was fun to get back into it but I never could return to how I was before, so to have the opportunity [in Para athletics] to compete internationally is really awesome."