Nevada native representing U.S in Paralympics after losing motor function

Rebecca Ostrander
Posted at 3:26 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 19:31:36-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada native, Rebecca Ostrander, is defying the odds.

"I just ran up to him in tears with that email," Ostrander said. "I said, 'Dad, I'm one of 10 people in the country on this roster and we're going to Barcelona, Spain.'"

After suffering a major setback when she was 18 years old, Ostrander has found her way back to the pitch, playing on the first-ever U.S. women's World Cup team for the Paralympics.

"I was diagnosed with oligodendroglioma in my right temple lobe. I had emergency surgery to get the tumor removed," said the 23-year-old. "During that surgery, I lost complete motor function on the left side of my body. So, I had complete loss of paralysis of both my left arm and my left leg as well as the left side of my face. I had to learn how to re-walk, use my arms, and smile."

After spending years learning how to regain her motor skills, Ostrander says it's the support from her family that's kept her strong.

Ostrander said, "A lot of hard work, a lot of talks with myself, with my family. A lot of tears shed. I mean, a lot of, 'okay Rebecca, it'll be worth it in the end.' My family was always there for me. They weren't letting me give up. There wasn't ever a choice."

Her persistence paid off, giving her the chance to represent the U.S on one of the biggest soccer stages of them all.

"We are just looking to be those people that those little girls and even those little boys can even look up to and show that 'hey, you can do it,'" said Ostrander. "You know, you really can overcome it all."

Team USA will face Spain in the first game of the IFCPF Women's World Cup. The game is set for 12:45 a.m.