ST. LOUIS — Born with spina bifida Bonne Terre native Brett Forbes never let his disability prevent him from playing sports

“I don’t really see a difference between what I do and what (athletes without disabilities) do,” Brett said. “It doesn’t matter that I am in a chair and they’re not.”

Brett excelled in sports such as wheelchair basketball at a young age. Just a few years ago, Brett began participating in powerlifting. His hard work in the gym earned him a chance to compete and represent Team USA at the World Para Powerlifting American Open in St. Louis this past weekend.

His performance was highlighted by an incredible moment on his final lift Sunday. He needed to lift 155 KG to break America’s rookie record.

And he did.

“When I was up there I didn’t even know I was competing for a record,” Brett said. “I was just doing what I can do, (and that is) lifting.”

“There is more work to do but it feels great at my age to be able to compete internationally,” Brett continued.

“They don’t look at themselves as people with disabilities.” Team USA Powerlifting High-Performance Manager Mary Hodge said. “They look at themselves as athletes who happen to have disabilities. And so they’re coming in and training just like any other athlete.”

In the competition, Brett won a gold and bronze medal. But his biggest accomplishment is not letting his life be defined by his disability, and he hopes others choose the same path.

“They see that I’m over here competing, and since I’m competing internationally why would they have to stop with everyday stuff.”