Roger Crawford was born with a rare genetic defect called ectrodactylism, which is the congenital absence of fingers or toes and only affects one out of 90,000 children born in the United States. When his parents saw their son for the first time they saw a baby with a thumb and one finger on his right forearm. Yet on his left forearm he only had one finger. He had no palms and his legs and arms were shorter than normal. Ectrodactylism had also affected his feet. He only had three toes on his shrunken right foot and a withered left leg, which would later have to be amputated. The doctor said Roger would never be able to walk and would likely have to be taken care of for the rest of his life. But neither Roger nor his parents ever believed that this genetic defect would stop Roger from achieving greatness.
Roger went on to play college tennis at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, finishing his tennis career with 22 wins and 11 losses. He became the first physically handicapped tennis player to be certified as a teaching professional by the United States Professional Tennis Association. Roger has become an NCAA Division I Hall of Fame athlete and been inducted to the International Speakers Hall of Fame.
Roger is a bestselling author whose books have been translated into seventeen different languages. His titles include, Playing From The Heart: Turning Obstacles into Opportunity, How High Can You Bounce? Turn Setbacks into Comebacks, and Think Again: Discover The Possibilities Hidden In Plain Sight. Roger also hosts a weekly feature titled, Motivational Mondays with Roger Crawford, which can be seen worldwide on Tennis Channel. In addition, Roger is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world and has been inducted into the International Speaker Hall of Fame. His message is authentic because he lives a “no excuses” mindset every day.
Interviewed by our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Roger discusses how he overcame incredible challenges to be successful both on and off the court. Roger also shares the importance of mindset, the relationship between attitude and action, the difference between fear and anxiety, and why age is not an excuse on the tennis court. His transformational life messages of decreasing excuses, increasing results, and breaking through self-imposed limitations are remarkable. As Roger states, "Challenges are inevitable, defeat is optional!"