Skip to Content

Franklin High School wheelchair track athlete inspires team

Pablo Casanova is a competitor.

The Franklin High School junior moved to El Paso from the Dallas-area last year.

One of the first things Casanova did was seek out track coach Lennie Brooks.

“I’m in the middle of a workout and he came up and said ‘where have you been?'” Brooks said. “I said ‘Who are you?’ and he said ‘I want to do track.’ From that moment on he’s just been dedicated.”

Casanova was born with Diastrophic Dysplasia, a disorder which causes dwarfism. He said he used to be able to walk when he was young. As he got older, his legs got weaker. He started using a wheelchair when he was in third grade.

“They would sometimes make fun of me when I walked because I kind of walked like a penguin,” Casanova said. “As soon as I got into the wheelchair, I started playing sports.”

Casanova competes in the 100 meter and the 400 meter. In his first season at Franklin he qualified for state in the 100 meter.

“Don’t let your disability stop you, no matter what you have,” Casanova said.

Casanova said his track teammates have become his close friends. He said they don’t treat him differently because of his disability.

“I don’t want them to run slower,” Casanova said. “If we’re going to run together, they run at their speed. I don’t want them to slow down.”

The team has embraced Casanova.

“He’s a great guy to have on our team,” teammate Ian Tharp said. “Seeing him out here competing, he motivates all of us.”

Casanova finished in ninth place at the state meet, and he said that’s already fueling him for next season.

“I want to make it to state again, but I want to get way better times,” Casanova said.

Something his coach thinks he can accomplish.

“He doesn’t make excuses,” Brooks said.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content