Car crash didn’t deter D.C. Paralympian Kari Miller

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The Paralympic Games began in London in 1948 as an avenue for disabled World War II veterans to compete in sports and maintain a physically active lifestyle. On Wednesday, the opening ceremonies will be held in London as the 2012 Games return to their birthplace.

Miller, who was ranked the No. 1 libero in 2010, will be one of 20 veterans competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games, and is one of eight returning sitting volleyball players from the 2008 silver-medalist squad.

Since making the U.S. team in 2006, Miller has lived in Edmond, Okla., where she takes classes at Central Oklahoma and trains with her teammates.

It’s been almost 13 years since the accident that forever changed her life. She now has to do some things differently, but what she is able to do has barely changed.

“It’s not that you can’t, it’s just figuring out how to do it,” Miller said. “I go rock climbing. I run. I have to do it a different way, but you just figure out the way and do it. There should be no reason why you shouldn’t.”

Miller, now 35, has been featured prominently in a TV commercial for the Paralympics. She is determined not to settle for silver this go-around. She and the rest of her teammates will start their journey to the podium when they play their first match Friday against China.

Hardware isn’t the only thing on Miller’s mind. An ambassador for the U.S. Paralympic Military and Veteran Program, Miller works with veterans, who, like herself, use sports to overcome trauma. Miller doesn’t quite understand why she was in an accident that day, or why she was spared when another was not.

“It is what it is,” Miller said. “You just have to accept that, you know, maybe God wanted me to do something else.”

She doesn’t, and never will, have those kinds of answers. But in representing her country in more ways than one, Miller found her own solution.

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