My Story - My Life as a Survivor and Athlete

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Megan Henry – Skeleton Athlete

Competing in sports has been in my destiny, although when I was born you may never have known it. Starting out, I was the quintessential underdog. I was born two months premature by an emergency C-section and went straight into the ICU. Many didn’t think I would make it; and as my parents say, I have been fighting my way ever since.
I quickly attached myself to my older brother and was definitely a tomboy growing up. Rather than be a cheerleader for pop-warner football, I would sprint alongside the football team at my brother’s practices trying to beat the boys who were 4 years older than me. I gradually grew into being more girly, most notably throughout my field hockey career where I sported a skirt on a field from middle school through college.
Field hockey became my first athletic love, and I put so much time and effort going to camps, elite development courses, tournaments and competitions to make my dream of competing at a Division 1 school a reality. Unable to let sports go when my field hockey career came to an end, I walked onto my college track team as the first leg of our record holding 4x100m team.
After graduation, I enlisted in the Army and nearly a year later was recruited to do bobsled through my college strength coach. However, after being told I would need to gain 30-50 pounds, another sliding sport came to my attention: Skeleton. My weight would be less of an issue in this sliding sport, and those days of sprinting against my brothers on the football field would come in handy during the explosive “push” sprint start that makes or breaks every race. I threw myself into this new challenge with all the vigor and dedication of my Field Hockey days, and quickly established myself as one of the fastest “pushers” not just within the USA program, but in the entire world.
But then, just when I thought I had gotten back to my athletic peak, I suddenly found myself fighting for my life once again. Use of the birth control product NuvaRing caused pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) to form in my lungs. I had always used athletics to express my will to live, but now I found the tables had been turned. It was athletics’ time to save my life. Experiencing unusual fatigue after workouts prompted me to go to the doctor, where the clots were discovered. If I had not done this, they may not have been discovered until it was too late.
But I refused to give up. After intensive rehab, I got back out on the ice. Today, I am blessed to represent my country through the US Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) as the nation’s only Skeleton athlete-soldier. In 2015, I represented the United States at the Skeleton World Championships.
Today, I’m dedicated to my goal of representing the United States in the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.