Wheelchair rugby player Nick Springer, who had all four of his limbs amputated after contracting meningitis at age 14, won a gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. "Sports more or less saved my life," he told CBSNews.com.
Katie Holloway - Sitting volleyball
A relative newcomer to sitting volleyball, Katie Holloway has built a strong college career and made her Paralympic Games debut in Beijing in 2008 and a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships in Edmond, Okla.
Jessica Long - Swimming
At 12 years old, double-amputee Jessica Long competed in the 2004 Paralympic games and came home with three gold medals. Since then, the champion swimmer has proved unstoppable, winning numerous international awards and taking home four gold medals and three world records at the 2008 Beijing games. In 2011, she was named Disabled Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World magazine.
Elexis Gillette - Track and field
Blindness hasn't stopped Elexis Gillette from being an elite athlete. A record-holder in long jump and triple jump, Gillette is also an accomplished sprinter. But Paralympic competitors aren't just jocks - Gillette is also a talented singer-songwriter and keyboardist.
Tatyana McFadden - Track and field
Six-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden is one of the top wheelchair racers in the world. Nicknamed "Beast," McFadden was born with a condition that left her paralyzed below the waist - and by age 15, she was the youngest member on the 2004 Paralympic team in Athens. McFadden finished first place in the wheelchair division at the 2011 Chicago Marathon.
Jerome Singleton - Track and field
Jerome Singleton had a below-the-knee amputation that hasn't stopped him from excelling in track, basketball and football. Singleton has competed in Paralympic track and field events since 2006, racking up an impressive medal collection. In 2011, Singleton earned the distinction of fastest amputee on the planet when he won the gold medal at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Rudy Garcia-Tolson - Swimming
Rudy Garcia-Tolson had both legs amputated above the knee when he was 5 years old. On his prosthetic legs, he has become an accomplished runner, swimmer and cyclist. Garcia-Tolson has won two Paralympic gold medals, numerous other awards, and has successfully completed a half-Ironman triathlon. In 2011 he took home the gold medal in the 200m individual medley at the U.S. Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Edmonton, Alberta
Alana Nichols - Wheelchair basketball
After breaking her back in a snowboarding accident at age 17, New Mexico-native Alana Nichols began playing wheelchair basketball in college. By 2005, she had made the U.S. Paralympics team. Nichols has also won Paralympic gold medals in skiing. Here she is at the 2011 ESPY awards.
Tucker Dupree - Swimming
Blind swimmer Tucker Dupree is a medal-winning competitor who represented the U.S. in the Beijing Paralympics. He holds 25 American records, and took home the gold in the 400 freestyle at the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Edmonton, Alberta.
Seth McBride - Wheelchair rugby
After a 2001 skiing accident broke two vertebrae in his neck, Seth McBride turned to wheelchair rugby to stay active. Since then, he's won medals in rugby tournaments around the world, including the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Vancouver.
Allison Jones - Cycling
Born without her right femur, Allison Jones is a two-sport threat as a Paralympic medal-winning skier and cyclist. She has competed for the U.S. Paralympics team since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Oz Sanchez - Handcycling
When a hit-and-run motorcycle accident took away his ability to walk, Oz Sanchez decided to take a "proactive approach to life [and to take] the bull by the horns." Sanchez has competed in triathlon and handcycling events at the Paralympics and has since won multiple world championships. He was crowned a three-time world champion after winning two gold medals in the 2011 World Championships in Denmark.
David Wagner and Nick Taylor - Tennis
David Wagner (left) is paralyzed from the mid-chest down. Partnered with Nick Taylor (right), the duo have been dominating the Paralympic tennis circuit since 2004. Both men have held the No. 1 world ranking in Quad singles, too, with Wagner currently holding the top spot.