Man who used wrestling, lifting to overcome cerebral palsy visits Ravens

The Baltimore Sun

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is known for bringing in inspirational figures from the outside to fire up his team, and Thursday’s practice, the last before Saturday's regular-season dress rehearsal against Washington, was no exception.

Ben Jackson, a Pennsylvania man featured in a Gatorade commercial that detailed his use of wrestling and power lifting to help him live with spastic cerebral palsy, visited with the team Thursday and spoke during their post practice huddle.

“I encourage everybody to watch [his video],” Harbaugh said after practice. “He doesn’t have his disability in mind. And what he does every day to accomplish the things he is doing inspired our football team. … He has been hanging out in the locker room with the guys and had a wise word for the guys after practice. It was just a great visit from a great young man.”

In the video, Jackson, who wrestled at Pocono Mountain West High in Pennsylvania, tells his story of using wrestling to boost his self-esteem as a teen. When he went to Northampton Community College, which didn’t have a wrestling team, he took up power lifting, which has been another outlet for him to thrive in.

He said in the video that he hopes to lift in the 2016 World Championships.

“What makes me different is not the physical you see,” Jackson said in the video. “What makes me different is what’s inside my heart.”

Harbaugh has brought in plenty of inspirational visitors this preseason, including Lucca, a bomb-sniffing dog who lost her leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, and several military members.

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