‘I’ve never let anything hold me back’: Bronco blade runner Daniel Figueroa talks athletic career

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Holly Pond runner Daniel Figeuroa. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. — Holly Pond student Daniel Figueroa put together another great season on the track and on the hardwood this year. Daniel is known around campus for his positive attitude and athletic ability but one attribute he didn’t get to choose is that he is a T44 amputee. However, the Bronco sophomore will tell you that challenge has helped mold him into who he is today as much as anything else.

“At the age of two, I was run over by a lawnmower which led to the amputation of my right leg,” Figueroa said. “At the age of four, I received my first walking leg. I would also like to mention that after I received it, I had to learn to walk and run soon after and from then on, I’ve never let anything hold me back.”

Figueroa said he started sports with t-ball and then played baseball up until 6th grade. After that, he decided to join the football team, which led him to finding his current love, track and field.

“I played football from 8th to 9th grade and that year, I started running track,” Figueroa said. “Now, without a doubt my favorite time of the year is track season. A couple of weeks after my freshman season ended, my coach had called me and mentioned a company in Nashville that wanted to help me, Amputee Blade Runners.”

Figueroa said in August of 2023 he received a blade leg and a new sports leg, changing his life.

“I started playing basketball while running indoor track —Amputee Blade Runners have helped me so much with sports and I couldn’t thank them enough,” Figueroa said. “At the state track meet in Cullman this year I had a personal best in two out of my four events. I had a great time and now I’m looking forward to running with amputee teams out of state for a shot at the Junior Paralympics.”

He said he plans to run in Chicago this summer with an amputee team called GLASA.

“One of my goals is to receive an athletic scholarship to a D1 college, for track of course,” Figueroa said. “I think I perform the way I do because my whole life I have always been competing with my friends and they have always treated me just like everyone else. I have excelled in my events this year with the help of my coach Bridget Pannell and my two best friends Travis Barnett and Boston Gibbs and the supportive Holly Pond community.”

Daniel has worked hard to accomplish a lot in his athletic career, but he credits his family’s support for making it this far.

“I’m glad to say that my family comes first, most importantly my mom who always takes me to the track meets and sacrifices so much for me,” Figueroa said. “I would like you to tell anyone out there that has had a similar experience that you can achieve anything you put your mind to as long as you have a great attitude going into it.”

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