Progressing by leaps and bounds
Young gymnast overcomes birth injury with hard work
DAVE LONDRES / Observer-Dispatch
Morgan Traut, 9, of Frankfort, pulls herself up on the uneven bars during practice Tuesday at Empire Gymnastics and Fitness in Frankfort.
By MARQUES PHILLIPS
Posted Mar 18, 2009 @ 10:05 AM
When she was 3 months old, Morgan Traut’s parents weren’t sure if she was going to be able to move her left arm.
Now, they sometimes are blown away as she uses that arm to vault herself into handstands and swing around the uneven parallel bars.
“We’re extremely lucky that she could be doing what she’s doing,” said her father, Rob Traut. “Honestly, we didn’t know if she’d ever be able to do anything like this.”
Morgan, a 9-year-old from Frankfort, was born with Erb’s Palsy, a birth injury that damages nerves causing paralysis of some muscles in the arm and shoulder.
Back then, the family drove to Syracuse to get their daughter the physical therapy she needed. The disability and its potential for recovery varies from person to person, so it was hard to know how far along Morgan would ultimately come.
“We looked forward to going,” said Kim Traut, her mother. “We were getting good news every time we brought her. We wanted to see what progress she’d make the next time.”
Even then, Rob said, he could see a gritty look on his daughter’s face. The parents agree they knew she was determined then, and it’s a trait she’s carried to the present.
“Most kids that do have a disability don’t move up as quickly as Morgan,” said Dawn Kochan, a coach and the owner at Empire Gymnastics and Fitness in Frankfort. “But that’s the work ethic, the determination and everything she’s willing to put into it.”
So, even though she just started gymnastics in September, Morgan already has won three medals, including a gold for the vault. She put them on the doorknob of her bedroom.
“I felt good when I won,” she said. “It makes you feel like you did something you can be happy about.”
Morgan’s left arm still is a bit crooked when she tries to do routines on the uneven bars.
She hates the uneven bars.
She knows she might have to go to a few more sessions of open gym to perfect her skills, but said she’ll ultimately be as good as anyone else.
“It makes it harder for me to do the bars,” she said. “Sometimes, the coaches have to help me more, but I can do it.”
In addition to gymnastics, Morgan also swims, skis and plays soccer. She used to take dance and played tee-ball. Her parents say she’s just competitive, and she hasn’t let her arm stop her from competing.
“She acts likes it’s not even a problem,” her father said. “You wouldn’t even know anything was wrong with her by talking to her.”
Not sure this is the same child or not, but look at this video!