On The Record with Jerry "Bull" Baylor 

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Jerry "Bull" Baylor was a high school football player and competitive powerlifter before he was hit by car while riding a motorcycle in 1980. Being a quadriplegic hasn't stopped the 64-year-old Leechburg resident, who will join 600 other athletes at the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games this week in and around Pittsburgh. Baylor, a Marine and Vietnam vet, will compete in track and field events Friday. www.pittsburgh.va.gov/nvwg.asp


How do you train for the games?

I push in my regular wheelchair to get stamina and strength up; then I get in my racing chair when I can. I get on that to train for distance. … I've put 250 miles on since April.


You were an athlete before your injury and remained one after. How did rehab go for you? 

It took awhile to get my strength back. When I was in [rehab], I was a rebel down there. They usually send you to classes. I wouldn't go to them. I'd just stay in physical therapy all day, lifting weights and doing things to get strong ... I came home in January [1981] and was competing in wheelchair sports in the spring.


How did you transition to life in a wheelchair?

It was pretty much like being born again because you've got to learn [to do] everything differently.  At my level of injury, it was at least a six-month stay [in rehab] just to learn the basics and get on the right track. I was there a little over a month. The doctor said, "You've got the right attitude. You're going to be fine." That's the main thing -- a lot of guys don't even want to learn how to get dressed themselves.



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