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