Patrick McDonald’s life was forever changed on November 15, 1991. While serving as a cavalry scout in the U.S. Army in South Korea, ground gave way under his convoy, which resulted in his M113 personnel carrier being flipped and his back being broken.
A member of Paralyzed Veterans of America since 1992, Patrick found sports to be a great way to stay active and challenge himself to do more. He has participated in almost every type of adaptive sports event our organization offers. He regularly attends the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. He has also been rated as the top wheelchair golfer in the world. He has a 1.5 USGA handicap and holds the record for the longest drive at 358 yards. Basketball, table tennis, shooting sports, golf…Patrick has done it all.
Monday, February 11, 2013, Patrick will be leaving for Russia to participate in World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia—the site of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. His sport: paralympic curling. A uniquely adapted version of the sport, paralympic curling doesn’t involve two individuals feverishly sweeping the ice in order to attempt to change the direction of the stones. This sport is about raw power and accuracy.
Similar to regular curling there are three types of shots: “guard” shots, “draw” shots and “take out” shots. The main goal of the sport is to get the stones often called “rocks” into the “house,” which is a circle in the ice. Patrick takes three days a week practicing one of each of these specific shots.
Originally picked for the curling team in 2008, Patrick soon found a love of the sport and since then has taken off. A 2011 torn bicep and shoulder replacement placed another unique challenge in front of Patrick. However, he persevered, regaining his strength and he continues to play at a professional level.
Patrick moved his wife and family from California to Madison, WI, in order to fulfill his Paralympic dreams. He is out on the ice every day of the week except for Wednesdays. On Sunday nights and Tuesday nights he competes in an able-bodied curling group.
Paralyzed Veterans wishes Patrick best of luck!
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America's Adaptive Sports Programs
Sean Kumnick is majoring in political science and economics at The George Washington University.