Basketball, ski racing, sprint kayaking, surfing—Alana Nichols’ athletic career has brought her to the highest levels of a wide range of sports. Still, she tells us on this week’s show, as a Paralympian she often struggled to get the same care for her injuries as her able-bodied peers.

But fight she did, and her advocacy has carried over into her newer roles as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and mother of baby Gunnar, who turns one year old in July (and whose dad is previous guest Roy Tuscany). For Alana, it all began when she came to terms with reality and set small goals. Eventually, they took her farther than she would have imagined, within sports and beyond them.

A huge thank you to Fluid Running H2GO, the only app-based deep-water running system in the world, for sponsoring this season of the Injured Athletes Club. CLICK HERE and use code IAC 30 to take $30 off the full system or the digital bundle.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How injuries are viewed in Paralympic sports and the added obstacles adaptive athletes face (5:42)
  • How that connects to a bigger movement for access and equality (9:03)
  • The way her initial spinal cord injury influenced the way she coped with subsequent injuries (10:15)
  • How sports helped her through the process of adjusting to disability (13:38)
  • Becoming a new mom, and how that required her to readjust to her identity all over again (16:26)
  • Her last major injury, which led to her retirement from ski racing (19:18)
  • Vicarious trauma and how that factored into her life and decision to retire (28:47)
  • How lessons learned from injuries are helping her navigate the pandemic
  • Her work with the Women’s Sports Foundation, and the way it’s transformed her even as she’s aiming to transform the world (36:44)
  • The challenges women’s sports face in the wake of the pandemic and how they’re hoping to address them (42:15)

You can subscribe to The Injured Athletes Club on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts, and if you like what you hear, please leave us a rating or a review in Apple podcasts. That helps other injured athletes find the show.


Resources/links we mention:


To access more resources for injured athletes:

  • Join The Injured Athletes Club mailing list, for weekly news and updates
  • Join The Injured Athletes Club Facebook group, for support and camaraderie
  • Email us at [email protected] with questions, guest suggestions, or other feedback


DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational & informational use only and & does not constitute medical advice. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have heard in an episode of this podcast. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with a qualified medical professional for proper evaluation & treatment. Guests who speak on this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions, and The Injured Athletes Club podcast hosts nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular treatment option discussed in the episodes of this podcast and are not responsible for any actions or inactions of listeners based on the information presented. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk.