"It's always the darkest before the sun rises." - Thomas Fuller
Megan Blunk is a world-class athlete and a Paralympic Gold medalist in wheelchair basketball. She is a native of Gig Harbor, Washington, and the middle of four sisters. From a young age, she was very active in sports. She was not just athletically built, but she also had that competitive mindset. As a kid, she played anything she had the opportunity to play-baseball, soccer, track, basketball, fast-pitch and volleyball and she quickly excelled at each. She also loved snowboarding, dirt-biking and wake-boarding when she was able to go.
Her parents divorced when she was four years old and both struggled financially. A few years later, their mom remarried a man who turned out to be a dangerous person for the entire family and would destroy their already struggling family.
For as long as Megan could remember, she carried heavy feelings of sadness, insecurity, and an internal pain she didn't always comprehend.
In middle school, she was diagnosed with depression. No matter what she did or tried, nothing seemed to help. As time went on things only got harder. She began distancing herself from the things that hurt her the most- sports, school, good friends, all of the things that she wanted, but didn't think she was good enough to have in her life. And so, she pretended like she didn't care. She held back in sports and got herself into a bad crowd.
Despite what it might have seemed on the outside, Megan was hurting in a way she couldn't put into words. She wanted more in life. She knew she was capable of more, but was so scared that if truly tried, she would just end up getting hurt even more. She always told herself that one day she would figure it all out. One day she would find her way and learn to believe in herself.
That hope was ripped out from under her one month after graduating high school when, at the age of 18, Megan was the passenger in a motorcycle accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
Yet, despite what most would think, the hardest part was not the physical paralysis the accident brought...the hardest part was the regret she felt for all of the things she had taken for granted by letting her mind keep her from trying and thinking she might never have the chance to make it better.
Megan made a vow while still in the hospital that if she ever did have the chance she would never let fear or insecurity get in her way.
She spent that first year in the dark...having no idea what the future held or how things were going to get better...but she knew there was a bigger purpose behind it all and she didn't give up.
And a year later she was introduced to wheelchair basketball and she knew right then and there that it was her light at the end of the tunnel and her second chance at life.
Megan followed through on her vow and faced every fear that came her way from that day on. She earned a full-ride wheelchair basketball scholarship to the University of Illinois where she became the first in her family to ever go to college and graduated with her bachelor's in Psychology and her Master's in Social Work with an emphasis on mental health. She made her first national team in 2013, placed 4th at the 2014 World Championships , won gold at the the 2015 Parapan American games in 2016, she won a Gold Medal for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Today, Megan uses her athletic platform to inspire and encourage others to never give up no matter what they are going through. Megan understands this first hand the reality of living with a mental illness and after spending so many years battling severe depression, thinking something was wrong with her, and feeling alone, being as honest and open as she can about not only the good times but also the hard times as it has has become one of her biggest missions in life to let others know that they are not alone and that mental illness real and it is not their fault. Megan believes that honesty is a vital key to making the world a better place.
Megan was recently selected to her second Paralympic Team to compete in Tokyo 2020 with the U.S. Paralympic Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team.
Throughout the year, she plays and trains with the Wolfpack Military Veterans team, as the first and only female on their team.
Megan is a sponsored athlete by Nike, the Hartford, and Per4max and she works closely with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Angel City Sports doing a variety of speaking engagements, coaching and events for them.
When she's not playing wheelchair basketball or traveling, she enjoys her time being home in San Diego with her roommate Ally and their furry friends, Fletcher and Abu.
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