Rising From the Ashes
Kevin Saunders, a Paralympian who has done way more than just compete, is passionate about many things, but his most important passion is letting people know what their true capabilities are. Saunders had just graduated from Kansas State University and landed a job as an inspector for the FDA when he was injured at the T5 level in 1981. While on the job in Corpus Christi, Texas, a grain silo exploded, killing 40 people and throwing Saunders 300 feet.
When he awoke and doctors told him he would never walk again, he was shocked. “When the doctors told me that I was a paraplegic, I fell into a massive depression,” he says. “How could I have been hurt? I was 24 years old, newly married and with a baby on the way.”
But slowly Saunders found purpose in life again, and it was through wheelchair racing. He credits one of the greatest wheelchair athletes, Randy Snow, for helping him get there. “I became friends with Randy,” he says, “And we trained together for many years. They both participated in the 1988 Seoul Paralympics, with Saunders winning a bronze in track and field.
Throughout the 1990s, Saunders honed his wheelchair road racing skills. He has competed in over 700 races, many of them marathons. He was also the first person with