March 10, 2020

Alongside her father and mother, 12-year-old Josie Portell shares her story as an adaptive athlete, opening up about training, mental toughness, and working hard. A self-proclaimed “naturally competitive” athlete, Portell reflects on starting competitive sports as early as age 5, and at 9, asking her father if she could participate in CrossFit. 

Portell acknowledges that she would not be able to do it all without the help of her parents, Bob and Victoria. Josie describes her father, who is also her programming, mindset, and strategy coach, as “patient and nurturing.” She says he not only helps her build physical strength but coaches her on her mental toughness as well. Josie’s mother, who is also her basketball coach, explains that effort is something Josie can control, and she pushes Josie to work hard and always do her best. 

Although Josie enjoys sports and competing, she also talks about the importance of school and maintaining good grades: “If my grades start to slack, I don’t participate in my sports,” she says. 

Josie says the hardest part of her day is when she feels overwhelmed with all her activities, but she has her mom to help her through it. She acknowledges that not every activity is fun, particularly physical therapy, but she sees the value and therefore puts in the work. 

Josie describes wanting to play wheelchair basketball in college or studying medicine or education, but however her future unfolds, Josie states, “I’ll never whine, I’ll never complain, and I’ll never make excuses.”