ABC Pays Tribute to Iraq War Amputee Turned Paralympics Hockey Athlete

ABC's World News named Rico Roman, a member of Team U.S.A. in the Sochi Paralympics, its 'Person of the Week' on Friday. Roman, an Iraq War veteran who lost his left leg after his Humvee struck an IED, is now the "the star forward of the U.S. Paralympic hockey team." Amy Robach spotlighted how the Oregon native "discovered sled hockey – an outlet from the confines of a hospital room."

The correspondent also pointed out how a significant percentage of the American Paralympics team come from the military: [video below the jump]

AMY ROBACH: ...Roman is one of 18 U.S. veterans competing in the Paralympics this year. They make up over 20 percent of all the U.S. athletes –  representatives from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Roman served in the U.S. Army for nine years – three tours in Iraq.

Anchor Diane Sawyer introduced the segment on Roman by noting how "the Paralympic Games are underway in Sochi – Team U.S.A. including more of America's armed forces than ever before, showing every person in this country how you fight to win – and then, you win again."

Robach led by trumpeting how Roman does "the equivalent of three able-bodied athletes at the pinnacle of their game at once. He's skates on a metal sled at speeds up to 30 miles per hour; navigates across the ice using poles, with the same techniques as an expert cross country skier; checks opponents with the same velocity of a car crash." She spent much of the rest of the segment detailing the veteran-athlete's journey from surviving an explosion in the line of duty to the hockey rink:
 

ROBACH: ...Roman served in the U.S. Army for nine years – three tours in Iraq. It was there, on his third deployment, when life changed in an instant. His Humvee struck an IED.


RICO ROMAN: I just didn't see it. It felt like getting punched in the stomach – felt like getting the wind knocked out of me.

ROBACH: The explosion caused major injuries to both of his legs. After multiple surgeries, he opted to have his left leg amputated above the knee.

During his rehab, he discovered sled hockey – an outlet from the confines of a hospital room. Before he left for Sochi, he visited me on the set at GMA. I asked him what it was like to have your world change forever.

ROMAN (from ABC's Good Morning America): None of these other things would have happened if that hadn't happened. So now, I'm on my way to Sochi, Russia....I never, ever ask myself, why did this happen? I would never change the fact that I served my country. Unfortunately, I got hurt, but these other opportunities happened because of this.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center