“The Gift of a Day: Story of Jeff Glasbrenner”

Local Sports
We’ve heard the stories of athletes beating the odds, and overcoming adversity. But it’s tough for those stories to compete with that of Little Rock’s own Jeff Glasbrenner.

Winner of three medals. A bronze, a silver, and a gold. Owner of two world records. All achieved on one leg.

July 30th, 1980.

8-year-old Glasbrenner was helping his father on their farm in Wisconsin.

“I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and my dad turned on the machine, and in a split second my life kind of changed forever,” Glasbrenner said.

The accident left him a below-the-knee amputee.

“Right away, from the beginning, the doctors told me that I couldn’t play in any sports, and that kind of fueled my fire. Isn’t it amazing when someone else is like , ‘nope you can’t do it,’ that kind of just gives you that extra motivation. It kind of gives you that extra little purpose.”

That motivation led Glasbrenner to the sport of wheelchair basketball where he immediately excelled. He played professionally in Europe for three years, was a member of three U.S. Paralympic teams, and holds the National Championship scoring record with 63 points and 27 rebounds in a single game.

And then he developed a new interest: triathlons. Only, there was a problem.

“I didn’t know how to run, didn’t know how to swim or ride a bike, so I got my first running leg and I ran for about a quarter of a mile and I thought I was gonna pass out. I didn’t think this was gonna happen.”

But once again, he surprised even himself.

In 2007, Glasbrenner won the physically challenged division at the Ironman triathlon in Wisconsin. That’s a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 miles on the bike, finished off with a full marathon of 26.2 miles.

“If i’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it at the highest level, or why even bother right?”

This led him to his next goal.

In 2010, Glasbrenner was the first athlete, amputee or not, to complete eight Ironman competitions in eight months.

“Well i had a lot of friends say, ‘oh that’s such an amazing story, you should tell it. You should write a book.’ And so, i was like, ‘alright, let’s do that.'”

In 2012, his latest achievement. The release of an autobiography titled, “The Gift of a Day.” And in it, Glasbrenner has one clear message:

“All of us have our little challenges. All of us have our excuse. But it’s just kind of getting over that excuse to get them to believe that they can do something. Maybe it’s not an Ironman, but maybe it’s a 5K. Or maybe their big goal is to spend a lot of extra time with their family. But i think if you have that goal or have that purpose, then life is so much more enjoyable. That every single day is truly a gift.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More Don't Miss