Bill Demby: Biography
Bill Demby grew up in the rural isolation of Maryland's Eastern Shore. After being discouraged from going to college by a high school guidance counselor, Demby headed for Vietnam in 1971. After only a few months, his truck was hit by a rocket, and the man who loved sports became a double amputee.
Demby admits the next decade was a time of drug and alcohol addiction. But, with the help of friends, he realized that the dream of a sports career was not impossible. He joined the Achilles Track Club, an organization of physically disabled athletes, and was soon competing as a wheelchair athlete in marathons and 10k races.
Demby holds the national amputee record in the shot put, discus and javelin. He competed with the U.S. Amputee Athletic Association in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea. Demby participated in the 1990 Peace Marathon held in Moscow to unite Soviet and American veterans. Demby also realized his dream of continuing his education and graduated from Prince George Community College in Largo, Md.
Demby has worked with both the U.S. Veterans Administration and DuPont to develop new prostheses that mimic the legs' muscular motions so closely that amputees like him can again play standup basketball. Demby and this product innovation were featured in a DuPont award-winning commercial that aired nationally. In his role as national spokesperson for Disabled Sports USA, Demby speaks to thousands of young people annually, breaking down the barriers between the disabled and able bodied. He has received numerous awards as a role model for young people and other Vietnam veterans.
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