After being injured by an improvised explosive device in October 2009, causing him to lose both of his legs, Josh Sweeney has refused to let the loss of not one but two limbs slow him down. Celebrity Speaker Josh faced a difficult recovery after his second deployment in Afghanistan, but he found solace in ice hockey, the sport he played growing up. Soon he earned a spot on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and was representing his country once again, but this time as an athlete instead of a sergeant. Josh was a member of the gold medal-winning American sledge hockey team at the 2014 Winter Paralympic in Sochi, Russia; while over sixty-one athletes tried out, Josh’s hard work paid off when he secured one of the seventeen spots on the team. The former U.S. Marine sergeant’s leadership experience served him well as the team’s alternate captain. More notably, Josh scored the game-winning goal that secured the United States’ victory over Russia, without a doubt the most pivotal moment of the entire game.
Before his tour in Afghanistan, Josh played able-bodied hockey throughout high school. He never dreamed he would be able to return to the sport he loved until he heard about the sled hockey team San Antonio Rampage during his rehabilitation. While slowly recovering, Josh found a sense of peace and purpose on the ice. After moving to Oregon, Josh remains on the national team and continues his training. He is happily married and also enjoys playing wheelchair basketball, restoring old vehicles, and working out at the gym.
For his service to the country, Josh received the Purple Heart, and in 2014, he was selected to receive the inaugural Pat Tillman Award at the 2014 ESPY Awards. Josh serves as a source of inspiration to military veterans, amputees, and able-bodied people alike, and is a living testimony that you can always get back up again.