Rico Roman, Paralympic Hopeful, Sled Hockey
In 2001, upon graduating from Alpha High School in Gresham, Rico joined the army and left the plush greenery and trademark rains of the Pacific Northwest for the desert and scorching heat of Iraq. A staff sergeant in the 2nd of the 14th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, Roman served three tours in Iraq (and one is Kosovo). On February 22, 2007, with less than a month to go on his last tour, Roman had finished the day working a security checkpoint at Sadaral Yusuf.
Returning to base, his vehicle was struck be a roadside bomb, and Roman’s life changed forever. A future of limited mobility, endless medication and constant pain was enough motivation for Roman and his family to eventually choose to give up his leg. One year after returning from Iraq his left leg was amputated above the knee.
What got you started in your sport?
After I was injured due to a road side bomb in Iraq. I got into the sport through a group called Operation Comfort. A nonprofit organization that helps wounded warriors with rehabilitation there at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Center For The Intrepid. I was hand cycling with the group and they asked if I would like to try sled hockey. At first I didn't want to try the sport, because I wasn't in to hockey at the time. I'm glad they convinced me to try the sport and to help me get to where I am now, on the USA Paralympic team.
What advice would you give to students about following their passion/their dreams?
Chase your dreams as big as they might be. Hard work and believing in yourself can get you what ever you want in life.
How do you give back?
Some of the ways I give back is by helping other Veterans get into adaptive sports. We just held a sled hockey camp through Operation Comfort this last 3 days. Helped with drills and showing them the sport. Leading by example that you can still have fun through sports after being injured. I also help with other sled hockey clinics around the states for adults and children.