Liberty High School graduate and award winning athlete Steve Ferreira is actively involved in the athletic scene in Seattle. The 24-year old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was three months old and has had to use a wheelchair ever since.
Ferreira is an athlete with a bag full of accomplishments. “I started [playing] sports when I was about five. I started to play baseball then I moved on to different organizations and I played basketball with Seattle Adaptive Sports then I played rugby with Seattle Slam and my main sport right now is track and fields,” said Ferreira
Ferreira trains at Bellevue College’s gym as well as another gym outside the college. According to Ferreira, Thornton Perry and Bill Burns are BC staff who help him to train. Ferreira said that Coach Burns helps him with techniques, strength and endurance to help him perform better during the competition season.
When asked about how his parents feel about his accomplishments, Ferreira said, “They don’t push me; I decided I wanted to do sports. Right now my goal is to qualify for France to compete in the world games this year.”
Last year, Ferreira participated in the trials for the 2012 London Paralympics. Ferreira was very close to making the team. As a dedicated athlete, Ferreira is very determined and has not given up his dream to play in the Paralympics. “I am trying to make it in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. I tried out last year and I got second in the nation but I did not make the team,” said Ferreira.
Ferreira has been competing since 2007. According to him, when he competes his mind goes into a totally different mode and he blocks out everything other than competing, just tries as hard as possible to give his best performance.
After graduating from BC, Ferreira hopes to pursue a degree in communication and exercise science. He also wants to promote his nonprofit company, Beyond Disabilities, and eventually speak nationwide. Ferreira added,“Beyond Disabilities is a company which advocates for disability rights and creates education and sports scholarships for disabled athletes and students.”
Ferreira’s accomplishments includes, gold medals in discus and shotput in 2007 and 2008 from the National Junior Disability Championships in Spokane, WA and Piscataway, NJ, and a bronze medal in 2008 from the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation World Games in Piscataway, NJ.
However, according to Ferreira, his proudest accomplishment is founding his own company in 2011 and winning a gold medal in the Czech Republic when he had pneumonia.
Ferreira is a very accomplished student as well as athlete despite his challenges. To increase awareness of being disabled, he started talking in front of wide audiences, motivating them and educating them about disability issues. “I speak on how it feels to live with a disability. It helps disabled people get noticed in the community,” said Ferreira. Rio 2016 is not far from now and Ferreira is already preparing himself for the biggest sporting event in the world.