Between his Physical Therapist Assistant classes at Weatherford College, Lewis Banda can be found training for his third Olympic competition.
Originally from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Banda represented his home country in the 400-meter race in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008. His athletic career started with soccer and rugby in high school, but after a particularly violent rugby tackle, his mother asked him to stop. He did and picked up running.
“My sophomore year in college [at TCU] I ran one of the fastest times in the world, and I had no intentions of going to the Olympics until my home country contacted me and asked me to participate,” Banda said. “I was excited because it was a big opportunity, and I was favored to medal. The guy who won the USA trials was from Baylor, and we raced a few times, and I beat him in a couple of races.”
In 2004, Banda finished eighth overall, and in 2008 a partial fracture in his lower back prevented him from making it past the first round. That’s when he learned about physical therapy first hand.
Banda earned a marketing degree from TCU, but his primary focus after college was training for the Olympics. After his injury he began working part time at a physical therapy clinic and decided to go back to school. He is now a PTA student at the Weatherford College Education Center at Mineral Wells.
His dream after completing the program is to own his own clinic.
“[I would like to] open up a sports rehab clinic in Fort Worth or in Weatherford,” Banda said.
While he has just begun his journey at WC, Banda feels confident about his future.
“The classes are small enough that I have easy access to the instructors and class materials,” he said. “I have awesome classmates and the instructors are great.”