The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


The Glory of the Game: Amputee Becomes Champion Athlete

By Shawn Brown
The 700 Club "I believe what is inside of you during your time of testing is what is going to come out, and because I have a strong faith in Christ, the thing that came out of my mouth, the first thing that came out of my mouth, was 'Hallelujah,' " notes athlete John Register.

Hallelujah describes the way John lives his life. This three-time All American, U.S. Army officer, husband, and father of three was on his way to the 1996 Olympics when a serious injury kept him out of the game.

"I went across a hurdle, a third hurdle during a training session, and dislocated my left knee landing. I found out very quickly that I had ruptured the artery behind the knee cap. I saw my leg dislocated and shaped like the letter “ L” going across my right leg. I knew it was going to be painful," he says.

Doctors attempted to reconstruct the artery but failed. John realized that his track and field career was over. He had a difficult choice to make: to amputate, or not to amputate.

"I was thinking in my mind," John recalls, "if I can rid this pain and amputation will do that, let's go ahead and do that. I was not angry at God for this because I knew at that moment that He had a different plan for me in my life."

After a successful surgery, John had a new set of concerns.

"I just kind of sat there and started contemplating who I was now. Am I still a father? Am I still a dad to my son? Am I still a husband to my wife? Am I still a son to my dad? Do I have employment with the Army now? What do I do now? All those questions kind of hit me at one time. I just began to cry. I just began to weep. My wife saw this and she came over and the word she spoke really helped to inspire me to continue to move forward: 'We are going to get through this together.' "

John RegisterWith one fully functional leg and one prosthetic leg, how was John to measure up? While some would have simply given up, John did not.

John reasoned, "I’m going to be successful in my marriage, I’m going to be successful in the work relationships that I have here, I’m going to be successful in life, and that’s just because Christ is getting the glory.”

And with that John decided to try a different sport.

"I started swimming for physical therapy and wound up becoming faster in the water, and found out about the Paralympics and decided to try to just make the trial," says John. "God’s got this wonderful sense of humor. Instead of going to Atlanta, Ga., as a 400-meter hurdler, I went as a 4x100 meter medley swimmer."

Swimming with the U.S. team for the 1996 Paralympics boosted John’s confidence.

"I was never going to be in the Olympic Games, but being in Atlanta really opened my eyes up to a whole new world of disability sport and not seeing it for disability but for the ability that all of these athletes have," he explains.

With a new outlook on his potential, John moved steadily back to track and field. He even earned a silver medal in the long jump at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney. According to John, his success wasn’t based solely on his own ability.

"I really believe that the Holy Spirit took over at that point and I was pushed aside and God was going to get the glory out of that accident. I think everything else that has come about is not to my glory; it's to His glory," says John.

Unfortunately, John didn’t qualify for the 2004 Olympics, but he still has things in perspective.

"I think our faith is not something that we practice on a Sunday to Sunday basis. It’s an everyday part of our life belief," he says. "Paul talks about that in Romans: 'I beseech you, my brethren, by the mercies of God that you present yourselves a living sacrifice, Holy and acceptable unto the Lord.' That’s a daily commitment that we all make. Athletics is just one portion of my life. Work is just another portion of my life. But all that we do needs to be an honor and glory to God."

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