With the 2014 Paralympic Games underway, Brody Roybal of Chicago is one of many athletes playing for gold. Roybal is the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, his coach told Daily Mail, “This kid has the potential to be the best that’s ever played the game.”
Roybal was born a congenital bilateral amputee, and has never known how to stay away from sports. At a young age he was introduced to baseball, and although he was good at it, it wasn’t his passion. His parents later on introduced him to sled hockey and he’s never looked back. Sled hockey isn’t much different than the hockey we’re used to seeing. The main difference between traditional hockey and sled hockey it that the players sit on sleds and use shorter sticks. The sticks help them maneuver on the ice and control the puck.
Roybal told the Daily Mail that once he tried sled hockey, “That was it. It’s all I wanted to do.” Now 15-years-old, he is one of the fastest on his team. The Northlake, Illinois native began to play sled hockey in 2006 at age seven. Five years after that, he was so skilled that he began to play with adults. Among his many accomplishments, Roybal helped Team USA win two of three games against Canada in January. He also helped his team place second at the December 2013 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
On his off time, Roybal goes to school, hangs out with friends and squeezes in a workout before school and during lunch. He plays video games, watches episodes of Orange Is the New Black, and cheers for the Chicago Blackhawks. His dad told the Daily Mail that Brody’s “just another average teenager, who’s lucky enough to go to the Olympics.”
After winning their game against Italy on March 8th, Roybal said in an interview for Team USA’s website that the turnout was amazing, “I’ve never seen that many people there to watch us play.” After the Paralympics, Roybal will go back to training and his life as a sophomore at West Leyden High School. After high school he plans on attending college to study finance.