Jessica Heims

Jessica Heims


The Backstory:
Born with amniotic band syndrome, Heims had her right leg amputated when she was a year old. After receiving her first prosthetic leg, she followed in her sisters’ footsteps by taking up track and field. By age 11, her friend Scout Bassett had introduced her to para track and field. She continued to grow as an athlete, eventually securing a spot on the University of Northern Iowa track and field team. Heims debuted at the World Championships in 2015, where she finished fifth in both the 400 meters and the discus. The following year she competed at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, placing seventh in the 400m and eighth in the discus.

Away from the track:
Heims completed her degree in biology at the University of Northern Iowa this year and aspires to continue her education in the medical field. She is engaged to a former football player at the University of Northern Iowa, Hezekiah Applegate.

In their own words:
“I enjoy the challenge of running, both physically and mentally. While there are team awards and team events, the basis of running is you against yourself and you against the clock. I like how in order to get better and improve, you have to do the work on your own—you can’t just depend on a team to pick up your slack. If you put in the effort, improvement isn’t far behind.”

“Some people focus too much on the competition and glory of becoming the best that they miss the whole point of sports in the first place—to do what you love. Starting a sport as an adaptive athlete can be very scary and intimidating, but keeping a strong mindset and vision of what is important is the best thing to do.”

 “I plan on going into the medical field in the area of physical therapy and rehabilitation. What I want to do is I want to help people through recovery and adaptive processes after injury or traumatic events. I am amazed by the human body and the human spirit, and being a resource for those in need would be my dream job.”


Prior Paralympics: 2016

7th 🏅


  • Sport: Track & Field
  • Limb Difference: Right below knee
  • DOB: 12/11/98
  • Residence: Swisher, IA
  • College: University of Northern Iowa
  • Previous Games: 2016
  • Classification: T64/F64