No Limits For Penn State's First Ability Athlete Swimmer

 Sean Brame trams at the Penn State Natatorium. He is the only amputee swimmer in the pool. He’s shown here swimming laps with Nittany Lion Aquatic Club(MANLAC). Brame trains with the club twice a week.

Sean Brame trams at the Penn State Natatorium. He is the only amputee swimmer in the pool. He’s shown here swimming laps with Nittany Lion Aquatic Club(MANLAC). Brame trains with the club twice a week.

 Brame finishes an intense swimming training with five minutes of cool-down stretching of the waist and arm muscles. Coach Jane Brown and assistant coach Michele Hong discuss special training plans base on Brame’s condition on February 17,2017. Brame is the first swimming athlete of the Penn State Ability Athletics program. “Disability just a part of me, it doesn’t defy me”.

Brame finishes an intense swimming training with five minutes of cool-down stretching of the waist and arm muscles. Coach Jane Brown and assistant coach Michele Hong discuss special training plans base on Brame’s condition on February 17,2017. Brame is the first swimming athlete of the Penn State Ability Athletics program. “Disability just a part of me, it doesn’t defy me”.

 Brame keeps a self-portrait of himself as a 4-year-old in a corner of his dorm room. 

Brame keeps a self-portrait of himself as a 4-year-old in a corner of his dorm room. 

 Sean Brame does math homework at Penn State Redifer lab on Feburary 10, 2017. 

Sean Brame does math homework at Penn State Redifer lab on Feburary 10, 2017. 

 The only adaptation to his car is the handicap student parking permit.

The only adaptation to his car is the handicap student parking permit.

 Brame greets a friend as he works out with Max Rohn at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

Brame greets a friend as he works out with Max Rohn at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

 Sean Brame takes off his prosthetics legs before a core strength training session at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. He removes and re-seats the legs to avoid chafing his skin before heavy workouts. 

Sean Brame takes off his prosthetics legs before a core strength training session at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. He removes and re-seats the legs to avoid chafing his skin before heavy workouts. 

 Brame takes a break from an intense workout to stretch his arm with the help of assistant coach Michele Hong. The stretching helps him to keep limber as he trains.

Brame takes a break from an intense workout to stretch his arm with the help of assistant coach Michele Hong. The stretching helps him to keep limber as he trains.

 Sean Brame squats as he concentrates on a core strength training during a weight lifting session on February 3, 2017 at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. He trains two hours a day, three times a week. The weight training is crucial to his development towards his goal of competing in the Paralympics.

Sean Brame squats as he concentrates on a core strength training during a weight lifting session on February 3, 2017 at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. He trains two hours a day, three times a week. The weight training is crucial to his development towards his goal of competing in the Paralympics.

 It’s story time during a training break at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

It’s story time during a training break at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

 Brame playfully spars with Penn State Abilities Athlete Max Rohn after a morning workout at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. The two spend hundreds of hours training together each semester.

Brame playfully spars with Penn State Abilities Athlete Max Rohn after a morning workout at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. The two spend hundreds of hours training together each semester.

 Brame sits with fellow Penn State ability athlete Max Rohn before a weight training session at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

Brame sits with fellow Penn State ability athlete Max Rohn before a weight training session at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

 Sean Brame plays defense during an Ability Athletes wheelchair basketball game at the White Building.

Sean Brame plays defense during an Ability Athletes wheelchair basketball game at the White Building.

 Sean Brame parks his car on West College Avenue going to lab to study after a morning work out.

Sean Brame parks his car on West College Avenue going to lab to study after a morning work out.

 Brame waits in line to purchase a meal in a dining hall before studying for a math examination. 

Brame waits in line to purchase a meal in a dining hall before studying for a math examination. 

 Sean Brame checks his Facebook feed in his dorm in Atherton Hall. 

Sean Brame checks his Facebook feed in his dorm in Atherton Hall. 


Sean Brame sees himself as an athlete and an agitator. When other people look at him, they see a person who is missing both feet and most of his hands.

“I don’t want to walk down the street and have somebody ask me what happened to me,” he says. (View photo gallery)

Brame’s life changed forever when he was 9 years old. In 2005, Brame sprained his ankle during a soccer game at Red Land High School in Lewisberry, Pa. His doctors initially diagnosed the injury as an ankle sprain. So they bandaged his ankle and sent him home. After a few days, however, his condition got worse as he developed sepsis, an infection causing inflammation throughout the body.

He nearly died. The bacterial infection got so bad, so quickly, that doctors were unable to save his limbs. Both Brame’s legs and his right hand were amputated. His left wrist, index finger and part of his thumb were saved.

“I’m not bound to my disability,” Brame says.” It’s a part of me but it doesn't’ define me.”

Brame is a swimmer – the first aquatic competitor in Penn State’s ability athletics program. He has been training at McCoy Natatorium and Multi-Sport Facility at Penn State’s University Park campus since February 2014 in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

As a competitive athlete, Brame says he finds faith in where his body can go. He drives himself by pushing his boundaries in the water.

Brame swims five days a week and spends two days in the weight room each week to work toward his goal of competing in the Paralympics.

“I want to leave my name in the record book,” Brame says. “That's why I love the battle and struggle with myself.”

Besides being a swimmer himself, Brame cares for people like him who are physically challenged. He switched his major from engineering to sociology in 2016.

“I’m trying to get into this desert and going to sociology because I want to change the way the world views me,” Brame says.

He says he wants to be the voice of his community by living his life through his faith, by putting others before himself and by reaching out to other people.

He has done work on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Ronald McDonald house and Amputee Coalition. He has been sending his message to raise awareness and evoke understanding for the disabled group through public speaking.

“My goal in life is I want to be remembered for doing something great,” Brame says.