Hillsboro Paralympian ‘wouldn’t change anything’

Josh Sweeney won Gold at Sochi and plans to bring sled hockey to Portland

Josh Sweeney lost his legs in Afghanistan five years ago. In 2014, he won a Gold Medal at the Sochi Paralympics (Courtesy: Josh Sweeney)
Josh Sweeney lost his legs in Afghanistan five years ago. In 2014, he won a Gold Medal at the Sochi Paralympics (Courtesy: Josh Sweeney)

HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN 6) — It’s a little cramped inside Josh Sweeney’s one-bedroom apartment in Hillsboro. It’s a space that’s tough to navigate in a wheelchair.

Sweeney, a 27-year-old retired Marine, lost both legs in Afghanistan five years ago when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. But this veteran honors those he served with and is proud to have served his country.

Josh Sweeney and his wife, Amber, in an undated photo (Courtesy: Josh Sweeney)
Josh Sweeney and his wife, Amber, in an undated photo (Courtesy: Josh Sweeney)

He will also be honored on Tuesday when he and his wife will receive a life-changing gift: a brand new, specially adapted 4-bedroom home.

The national non-profit group Homes for Our Troops selected Sweeney and nine other injured vets nationwide to receive a new home as part of their Home for the Holidays celebration.

The Sweeneys will move into their new home this weekend.

“I feel great about having served my country,” Sweeney said. “I mean, I wouldn’t go back and change anything even being injured. I feel like, if anything, being injured has opened up a whole new world to me that I’m able to help others with, and continue to participate in sports I never would have been able to play if I was still able-bodied.”

This year, Sweeney scored the winning goal for the 2014 US Sled Hockey Team during the Paralympics in Sochi.

“I can fly and stop and turn, so it’s just freedom,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s like the NASCAR, I guess, of just disabled sports.”

He’s working to start a sled hockey team in Portland and remains an inspiration to others.

The new home is a place where he and his wife can thrive and even build a family. He hasn’t let the loss of his legs stop him.

“That’s life. We have to kind of push on. I was raised that way. You don’t really worry about the things you can’t change,” Sweeney said. “You just have to do what you can do to live the kind of life you want to live, so that’s just what I’m trying to do.”

“Ice Warriors,” a documentary about the US Paralympic Sled Hockey team, airs Nov. 10 on PBS.

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