Introducing Content Squad Athlete Leader Amanda Church

Written By: Anne DeForge

Do think you could swim 25 yards while carrying the weight of two metal rods? Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall Fame athlete Amanda Church does just that every time she jumps in the pool.  

When she was very young, Amanda was diagnosed with scoliosis. In 2001, when she was in the 8th grade, she had surgery to place the two metal rods at the Children’s Hospital. Without the surgery Amanda and her family were told that she could face a lot of complications in the future. 

Amanda had started swimming when she was just 8 years-old and has competed for 20 years. With a lot of support from her family and friends, she has been very successful recovering from her surgery and competing in the Special Olympics. Amanda says her favorite event is the breaststroke. 

In addition to swimming, Amanda competes with her teammates on LIFE Force in basketball and soccer. 

It means a lot to Amanda to compete in Special Olympics. She has made many friends from all over the world. Amanda really likes being able to show her skills and abilities. Her dream is to try to go to the 2026 USA national games in Minnesota. She stays in shape by working out at the LIFE gym in Mashpee, Massachusetts. 

Outside of Special Olympics she works at Marshalls in the fitting room area and goes to her day life living program. 

Amanda has faced adversity and obstacles in life. Not only does she have scoliosis and have two metal rods into her back to straighten her spine, but she was born with Sturge-Weber syndrome, a brain condition that can cause seizures and lead to developmental delays.  Amanda had her first stroke when she was just 5 months-old in the years since than there have been a lot of struggles for her and her family.  

Aside from her sports career, Amanda has found other ways to impact the organization, she is a Global Messenger for Special Olympics Massachusetts.  In that role she has spoken at schools and events to tell people her story and she became Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame athlete on August 9 ,2012.  It was big surprise for her and her family. But it is no surprise to the Special Olympics community as Amanda is great example of what it means to be a Special Olympian! 


The mission of Special Olympics MA Athlete Leadership is to empower athletes to develop communication skills and utilize their voices to assume meaningful leadership roles. As members of the Content Squad, athlete leaders were tasked with writing feature stories on each other. They were able to generate interview questions, sit down with their partner, add or alter their questions, and then put together a short form feature story. 

If you are interested in learning more about athlete leadership, click here.

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