BR man redefines what it means to be an athlete

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POSTED: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 5:54pm

UPDATED: Friday, January 24, 2014 - 7:00pm

For athletes, it's the thrill of the race or that big game, adrenaline pumping, as they push themselves to the limit. Well, for one local man, his ability to compete in his sport changed in an instant when he lost both of his legs.

Even after losing both of his legs, Robert Bailey still runs. He still cycles. He still competes. In fact, he's determined to take first place in the Rock n Roll Marathon in New Orleans in just a couple of weeks.

"That's the big part, getting over that fear and finding the confidence," Robert said. "And I was just really getting back at it, and I actually bought a beautiful tour bike one week before the accident."

The accident that changed everything.

"Eight yeas ago, I was out in Central cutting grass with a bush hog, and long story short, it ended up cutting both of my legs off," Robert explained.

It took four years, a lot of physical therapy and a lot of support for Robert to get back on his bike, and it wasn't easy.

"During the first years of my recovery, I would try to ride the two-wheeler and would get very bloody blisters and it would tear my legs to pieces, and I realized I couldn't do this right now," Robert said.

Now, his bike looks a little different.

"After a very long period of recovery, I discovered recumbent tricycles," Robert said.

But he said he feels more alive than ever, that's why he rides. So in just a couple of weeks, he's representing the Challenged Athlete Foundation and Team Chocolate Milk for the second time at the Rock n Roll marathon, and he's ready to bring home the gold.

"I came in second. It told me I had to come back and do this, and so I think Rock n Roll Marathon will be a yearly event for me." Robert said. "If I had not been riding, I'd probably weigh about 300 pounds, I am diabetic, I probably would not be here."

He doesn't just do this for himself.

"I want to show other challenged athletes that you can do it," Robert said.

Right now, Robert Bailey is in the process of creating an adaptive sports program for challenged athletes right here in Baton Rouge.

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