No limits for Penn State’s first ability athlete swimmer

Photo posted March 28, 2017 in Sports by Jingling Zhang

Sean Brame sees himself as an athlete and an agitator. When other people look at him, they see a person who is missing both feet and most of his hands.

“I don’t want to walk down the street and have somebody ask me what happened to me,” he says. (View photo gallery)

Brame’s life changed forever when he was 9 years old. In 2005, Brame sprained his ankle during a soccer game at Red Land High School in Lewisberry, Pa. His doctors initially diagnosed the injury as an ankle sprain. So they bandaged his ankle and sent him home. After a few days, however, his condition got worse as he developed sepsis, an infection causing inflammation throughout the body.

He nearly died. The bacterial infection got so bad, so quickly, that doctors were unable to save his limbs. Both Brame’s legs and his right hand were amputated. His left wrist, index finger and part of his thumb were saved.

“I’m not bound to my disability,” Brame says.” It’s a part of me but it doesn't’ define me.”

Brame is a swimmer – the first aquatic competitor in Penn State’s ability athletics program. He has been training at McCoy Natatorium and Multi-Sport Facility at Penn State’s University Park campus since February 2014 in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

As a competitive athlete, Brame says he finds faith in where his body can go. He drives himself by pushing his boundaries in the water.

Brame swims five days a week and spends two days in the weight room each week to work toward his goal of competing in the Paralympics.

“I want to leave my name in the record book,” Brame says. “That's why I love the battle and struggle with myself.”

Besides being a swimmer himself, Brame cares for people like him who are physically challenged. He switched his major from engineering to sociology in 2016.

“I’m trying to get into this desert and going to sociology because I want to change the way the world views me,” Brame says.

He says he wants to be the voice of his community by living his life through his faith, by putting others before himself and by reaching out to other people.

He has done work on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Ronald McDonald house and Amputee Coalition. He has been sending his message to raise awareness and evoke understanding for the disabled group through public speaking.

“My goal in life is I want to be remembered for doing something great,” Brame says.