Difference not disability

Difference not disability

Nikita Lewchuk, Reporter

This February Harding welcomed Jacquelyn Musgrove to this history department.

Like her predecessor, Captain John Tipsword, Musgrove also has a physical limitation. She was born three months prematurely, and as a result is missing her right thumb and radius.

“I wouldn’t consider it a disability. It’s just a difference, and everybody has something that’s different from the person next to them. A lot of people have differences that you can’t even see, you just happen to be able to see mine,” Musgrove said.

Her limb difference has relatively little effect on her everyday life, and it certainly doesn’t prevent her from leading an active lifestyle. Musgrove enjoys mountain biking, backpacking and rock-climbing, and has coached a competitive rock-climbing team for nine years.

“There have been people, especially when I started rock-climbing, who said ‘There’s no way you can do that’ and so I take a lot of pride in being able to show them wrong in situations. It’s awesome,” Musgrove said.

Though her limb difference affects her climbing style, it is by no means an inhibitor.

“For sure there are differences [with rock-climbing]. Someone with full reach on their right side would be able to get it a lot easier than me, but I just reach a different way and get past it. I may have to do more steps to get there, but we still have the same end result,” Musgrove said.

Musgrove has competed nationally with others who have limb differences through the organizations Extremity Games and USA Climbing, which recently created a division for athletes with limb differences.

She is also looking forward to watching the 2020 paralympic games, which will take place in Tokyo. If last year is any indication the paralympic games will be breaking as many records as they will barriers.

In the 2016 paralympic games in Rio the four fastest runners in the 1500 meter sprint all ran times that would have won them gold in the Olympics.
“If I could make any impact it would be to let people know that just because someone has some sort of difference, it is literally just difference. We can all do the same things, we just may have to do them differently,” Musgrove said.