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|Tara Blackwell, 32, was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. Although she grew up as a multi-sport athlete, Tara's greatest passion was the game of softball. In 2003, upon graduating from Pine Forest High School, Tara began her journey at Troy University, on a softball scholarship. On April 9, 2005, in the middle of her sophomore season as the Trojan's second baseman, and at the prime of her collegiate career, she suffered a cervical spinal cord injury after a practice on an away trip with her team. Tara spent three months at a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, where she began learning how to live and function as a quadriplegic. However, very soon after her injury, she decided that her diagnosis would not define her life. |
Upon her injury and returning home, Tara made it her mission to remain on a top of her exercise and therapies in order to maintain the best quality of life, and to keep herself prepared for any advancements in the search for a cure for spinal cord injury. Over the span of the last 12 years, she has traveled to both Baltimore, Md and Orlando, Fl for the most innovative therapies, as well as internationally to both Germany and Ecuador for invasive, but hopeful stem cell procedures.
Although Tara's prognosis has not changed, her strength and independence continue to progress through persistence and perseverance. Due to this determination, some of her greatest life achievement's have been accomplished since her injury, including independently completing her degree in Criminal Justice through Troy University, as well as receiving the job as Head Coach of the Pine Forest Softball Program from 2013-2016. As Tara continues to utilize her experiences to mentor our youth, she is now focusing on a new career opportunity with a local title company, as well as maintaining optimal health and strength She hopes to inspire others to live life to its fullest and seize every opportunity, and most of all, to BELIEVE that all things are possible with hard work and faith. Tara attributes all that she's been able to achieve and overcome to the amazing support she's had from her family, friends, and our community.