Named to the 2014 Junior National Table Tennis team and watched by the United States Olympic Committee over the summer, senior Danny Scrivano strives his way to the Paralympic Games for 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
“My parents didn’t think I was going to play sports at all,” Scrivano said. “And so to see me play a lot of sports and become great at one is a tremendous accomplishment. It makes me feel so proud that I can do anything I set my mind to.”
He acquired hemiplegia, a form of paralysis that affects one side of the body. It is caused by brain injuries suffered from a stroke he suffered at two-years-old. The disability affects Scrivano’s mobility and total use of his right arm. “Danny spent hundreds of hours in physical therapy and doctors offices when he was little,” mother Patti Scrivano said. “Now, it has been years since he has had any type of formal therapy because everyday sports became his therapy.”
At five-year’s old, Scrivano began playing a variety of sports, from baseball to basketball to tackle football. And he mastered playing all of them with only the use of his left arm. “Only being able to use one arm is an obstacle that I’ll always have to overcome, but I’ve taught myself to have the drive to keep going– even sometimes when I don’t want to,” Scrivano said. He earned high ratings to attend a San Diego tournament in December 2013, became nationally recognized as a member on the United States Junior table tennis team, traveled to Romania and Spain in the summer of 2014, and will travel to Costa Rica in December of 2015. Only six kids were picked across the nation for the 2014 Junior National Paralympics table tennis team; Scrivano one of them.
Under the everyday after school training with nationally renowned coaches, Scrivano thrives and reaches new goals, staying mentally strong and focused at practice. “Danny inspires me to go the extra mile and always work for what you want, even if it’s harder to get there,” para coach Angie Bengtssan said. “He has a great work ethic and I see him being successful in anything he will do in the future.” Athletes train rigorously by eating healthy, executing extra workouts and competing in international tournaments, to achieve a high rating in order to qualify and be chosen for the U.S. Paralympic team. “It won’t be an easy task to get in the 2016 Paralympics, but it’s not impossible. Making it into the 2020 Games in Tokyo is a serious reality,” Scrivano said.