LEFTOVERS: Las Vegas Paralympian shining

Amy Purdy is an inspiration, someone who overcame the loss of both legs to become a Paralympian bronze medal winner and early favorite to win “Dancing with the Stars.”

She’s also one of us. Purdy, 34, was born in Las Vegas, graduating from Cimarron-Memorial High School in 1998.

Her life changed dramatically when at 19 she contracted bacterial meningitis. Purdy survived despite being given less than a 2 percent chance to live, but lost both legs below the knees. She later also received a kidney from her father.

Purdy could have been emotionally crushed, but she badly wanted to return to snowboarding, the sport she loved. She built her own prosthetic legs, and co-founded Adaptive Action Sports in 2005.

Just last week, as the only double amputee in the field of 11 women, Purdy captured the bronze medal in snowboarding at the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. She then flew to Los Angeles to compete on “Dancing with the Stars,” beating the other contestants Monday and driving judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.

Athletes generally have done well on that show, and Purdy likes her chances.

“If (other contestants) break a leg they’re out of the competition,” she told People magazine. “But if I break a leg, I’ll just get a new one.”

Nice sense of humor. Amazing courage.

Someone who makes her hometown proud.

■ AND NOW AT GUARD — President Barack Obama tends to make basketball news this time of year when he picks his NCAA Tournament bracket.

He went with Michigan State, but the president found himself in the sports headlines for reasons not of his doing.

Kobe Bryant said Obama was good enough to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are on a spiral to Lottery Land.

“That’s not a diss to the current roster that we have, it’s more of a sign of respect of the skill that the president possesses,” Bryant said on “The Dan Patrick Show.”

Uh, sure it’s not a diss. So a man who’s north of 50 and has never played professional sports can walk into the NBA’s second-most treasured franchise and receive playing time?

Give Obama this, though. He sure can go to his left.

■ BO KNOWS TWO SPORTS — If Russell Wilson truly has designs on playing baseball, he should listen to the authority on the subject of trying to balance two sports.

Bo Jackson became a sensation in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he excelled as a major league baseball all-star power hitter and one of the NFL’s top running backs.

But Jackson’s playing days effectively came to an early end when he injured his hip in 1991 while playing for the Los Angeles Raiders. He never played football again, and wasn’t the same in baseball.

Wilson is in the Texas Rangers’ camp, just a month and a half removed from quarterbacking Seattle to the Super Bowl championship.

“Stick to what got (Wilson) in the headlines, not baseball,” Jackson said on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. “Twenty-five or 30 years ago when I did it, I’m not trying to say anything negative about other athletes, but the talent pool wasn’t that deep. Stick to whatever sport you’re comfortable with and let everything else go.”

Wilson should listen because Bo knows.


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