Alumna and Paralympic Gold Medalist Shares Her Story with Student-Athletes

Alumnae Sydney Satchell '10 speaking in front of the Walker's community

September 13, 2019

Sydney Satchell ’10, Paralympic athlete for the USA Women’s Sitting Volleyball team, traveled back to Walker’s from Lima, Peru with her gold medal in hand and passed it around to the student-athletes that participated in Walker’s preseason while sharing her story. It was the perfect speech presented at the culmination of a busy three days of fall conditioning.

Nearly 100 students, faculty, and staff heard Sydney share her experience as a tri-sport student-athlete at Walker’s before heading to Howard University to play Division 1 lacrosse.

In 2015, Sydney suffered an injury in a car accident that changed the course of her life. The accident resulted in a below-knee amputation in addition to a previously undiagnosed condition of compartment syndrome which was cutting off blood supply to her left leg. Sydney had always viewed herself as a lifelong athlete and while the accident may have altered her path, she was determined to not let it deter her from attaining her goals. In June 2017, she moved to Oklahoma to train full time for the USA Sitting Volleyball team.

Sydney spoke about being bold and brave and having grit. She shared that one of her lifelong coaches considered grit as one of her best qualities. “That’s honestly something that can’t be learned,” said Sydney.

Sydney incorporated a lot of humor into her story, and she shared some advice with the student-athletes. “I’m reminding you that if you’re not picked to be captain or if you don’t start, you still play a role.” Sydney reminded the girls that even if they don’t play in a game, the work put in at practice makes your team stronger. This work ultimately led her team to win gold. She celebrated the victory because she played a part in her team’s success.