Athlete Testimonials

Learn firsthand how Team USA athletes have grown and developed through our country’s college sports system.

Brittni Mason Eastern Michigan // Para track & field

Why did you choose your college, and what did you like most about being a student-athlete there?

"I was blessed to be highly recruited out of high school to run at the Division I level for college and visit many different schools. When visiting Eastern Michigan University, meeting the team and coaches instantly felt like home. Both the team and coaches were very welcoming and it was easy to see the bond that the team had with one another. That was something that I wanted to be a part of and Eastern Michigan was the only school I visited that made me feel this way. What I liked most about being a student-athlete at Eastern Michigan University is that the coaches actually cared on a higher level than just your athletic ability. My coaches not only valued an athlete who worked hard on the track, but an athlete who worked hard academically. From my personal experience, I also felt that my coaches were invested in their athletes and helping whenever possible even when it did not pertain to athletics or academics."

How did competing collegiately help prepare you for competing on Team USA?

"Competing collegiately helped prepare me for competing on Team USA in many different ways. Running at a Division I school taught me a lot about mental toughness, understanding how to properly fuel my body from a nutritional aspect and also how to properly take care of myself from a recovery aspect to compete at a higher level. Competing collegiately also helped me to learn better discipline, patience, trust in my training process, how to become a better teammate and leader, and how to compete for something greater than myself. My entire collegiate running career was always me competing against non-Para athletes, so knowing that I had to compete against athletes while being born with Erb's Palsy taught me how to be competitive. I never was one to look at my birth defect as a disability or excuse. I always had the mentality to outwork my competitors and do what it took to compete at the Division I level."

How did (or will) going to college prepare you for life?

"Going to college prepared me for the real world and what to expect. From my personal experience, I learned that it's not always what you know but who you know. Having a magnetic personality and being able to network with others will take you far. College also taught me that with hard work anything is possible. If you don't give up and persevere, you will reach your goals. On the other hand, if you don't work hard at something and you give up, you won't go far. Being able to participate in a sport while in college taught me better time management skills and better every day routines such as sleeping, eating and studying patterns which I believe will help me for life."