The JSerra Catholic High School senior was paralyzed after being shot at the age of 8 and is now the top wheelchair tennis player

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (KABC) — A young tennis player who was left paralyzed in a wheelchair after being shot at at just 8 years old is enjoying great success on the court – and he’s just getting started.

“If you focus on that, really anything is possible,” said Landon Sachs, now a senior at JSerra Catholic High School and a top-ranked wheelchair tennis player.

He won second place in his first junior wheelchair championships and earned a partial scholarship to the University of Arizona, ranked sixth in the nation in the sport.

“Playing for just one year and finishing sixth is quite an achievement,” said Sachs.

JSerra’s tennis assistant Keith Orahood said he sees no reason why Sachs can’t achieve his dream of turning pro.

“I just think he’s getting better and better,” he said. “Those colleges that have adaptive exercise programs have psychologists assigned to them, they have strength and conditioning coaches assigned to them.”

Sachs wants to nurture young athletes – just like the pros he admires.

“I watch a lot of US Opens and I kind of want to be like them, be number 1, be able to play in these tournaments, be in these top ranks, that’s kind of what keeps me going,” he said.

However, the journey was not easy.

Sachs survived an unimaginable tragedy after being shot and paralyzed at the age of 8.

During his sophomore year, his English teacher pointed Sachs to a new adaptive athletics program that was a game changer for the teen who was once a student of few words.

“All Landon used to say was ‘Yup’ and ‘Nope’ and ‘I’m fine,'” Orahood said.

That changed quickly.

“He opened up, it brought him a lot of peace, he was a huge inspiration to us,” said Chris Ledyard, JSerra athletic director.

Orahood adds the school aims to become “the IMG of adaptive sports” and hopes to get students into any sport they want to play.

“Not just tennis, but basketball and sitting volleyball and any other sport that we can get,” he said. “We want to get them college scholarships and then just follow in Landon’s footsteps so he’s the leader.”

A leader who paves the way with his mental and physical strength and disdain for losing.

“He has this strength, the upper mobility strength, because he’s been in a wheelchair for eight or nine years, that’s a big key in wheelchair tennis, but his stamina and his will to win and more importantly he hates it lose,” Orahood said.

Remembering to reset after all that back and forth is key for Sachs – a lesson he takes off the court.

“Even if I lost maybe 2, 3, 4 or 5 sets… you have to play each set as its own and not think about what you lost or won. It’s just… you’ve gotta play right now.” The JSerra Catholic High School senior was paralyzed after being shot at the age of 8 and is now the top wheelchair tennis player

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