No one thought this is where Jessica Frotten would be after experiencing a spinal cord injury during a severe car accident in 2009, but now after defying all odds, the 33-year-old is on her way to Tokyo to compete for Team Canada in wheelchair racing at the upcoming Paralympic Games.
“I think I’ve been through every emotion,” Frotten said.
“I think these Olympics and Paralympics are a little strange, but overall I am so excited and I’m so excited about making the team and I can’t wait to go,” she added.
Frotten has been a member of the First Steps Wellness Centre (FSWC) for more than a decade now. She first came to the facility for a rehabilitation program after her accident, but little did Frotten know that she’d end up training for the Paralympics just a couple of years later.
FSWC is a non-profit organization providing innovative services to people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and other neurological health issues such as brain injury, Cerebral Palsy and multiple sclerosis.
Record number of New Brunswick athletes set to compete at the Paralympic Games
“This last year and a half has been a little weird, not how I envisioned myself getting ready for the biggest competition of my life, but I’ve worked really well with my coaches and trainers and we’ve adapted a program,” Frotten said.
Frotten says the sense of home she’s found through parasports is what helps keep her going.
COVID-19 widened disparities for Canada’s ethnocultural communities: study
Ontario reports largest increase in COVID-19 cases since mid-June
“It’s a sense of community and it brings everyone together, I mean even at the grassroots level, sometimes it’s not even about the sport,” Frotten explained.
“The sports are just a platform for everyone to come out and share their stories and meet people going through some of the things that they’re going through.”
Regina swimmer hopes to make Paralympic debut despite COVID-19 pandemic setback
Owen Carlson, FSWC executive director says the most notable thing about Frotten is that she’s become a go-to person for individuals trying to learn how to live with their disability.
“The biggest thing is what she means to the community of Regina, she’s an advocate, she’s involved in all levels of parasports,” Carlson said.
“She’s organized a program called Bridge the Gap, she’s helped with it. She’s a transition specialist, she’s a mentor for newly injured people at the general hospital and at Wascana [Rehabilitation Centre].”
In addition to using the Regina-based centre for her training, Carlson says Frotten volunteers for Sask Wheelchair Sport and remains a strong community advocate and peer support for Regina’s spinal cord injury community.
He adds everyone at the centre is extremely proud that she will be representing Team Canada at the Paralympics and that the others will be rooting for her to bring home the gold.
Frotten may be on her way to making her country proud, but it looks like she’s already made her community proud of her unwavering determination to never give up.
Frotten has a history of competing at many events and has won medals at the Pan-Am Games, the Swiss Grand Prix, Canada games, nationals, and world championships.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.