What does powerlifting and engineering have in common? The answer is simple: Bryce Segura.
Segura was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia at birth, a form of cerebral palsy (CP) that results in chronic weakness in the lower extremities.
CP refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination. More than 17 million people worldwide are diagnosed with CP. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 764,000 children and adults show one or more symptoms of CP, cited the website.
Nevertheless, that never stopped him from achieving his goals.
Growing up, Segura said his parents always preached the importance of education. Neither of his parents attended college, which resulted in them having to work a lot harder for the things they wanted. Segura said they didn’t want him to follow in their footsteps.
“They always told me I needed to go to college. If you are in South Louisiana, college means LSU,” Segura said. “LSU has always been the goal.”
He watched his father work on different projects and the developmental process struck his interest.
“I like the puzzle of it, seeing something from start to finish and having it be your project,” Segura said. “It’s a pride that comes with the independence of starting something from scratch and ending with it being yours and exactly how you want it.”
Last semester, the 20-year-old New Iberia native switched his major from mechanical to industrial engineering. Segura said industrial is not as numerical and rigid; it allows for multiple solutions for a problem.
Engineering is not the only thing that sparked Segura’s interest.
Segura is a member of the United States Paralympic Team*. He was a silver medalist in the 2015 IPC Powerlifting Open Americas Championship in Mexico City, Mexico. He was also a member of the U.S. Team that competed in the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships in Dubai, UAE.
Powerlifting consist of three events: squat, bench press and deadlift. However, Paralympic lifting is a little different. Instead of three events, the lifters only participate in the bench press.
“In my mind, if I am not playing to win, then why play at all?” Segura said.
That determination will be put to the test in June 2017.
In January 2017, the standards for competing changed. Segura needed to lift 110 kilograms (242 pounds) to qualify for the next stage of competitions. That number was changed to at least 150 kilograms (330 pounds).
But Segura won’t let the significant change alter his goal of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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Raven Nichols, communications intern, LSU College of Engineering
* 2/24/17 Clarification: Bryce Segura was previously a member of the US Paralympic Team. He will need to qualify in June to be part of the next Olympic team in 2020.