Medford man headed to Rio Paralympics

Medford, Ore., — A Medford man may be on his way to Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games in September.

Josh Wheeler was paralyzed back in 2006, and his parents say they didn’t know what would happen to him. But today, he is taking his disability to a level most people don’t ever reach.

“I worked hard, trained hard, and got better.”

A motorcyle crash left Josh Wheeler paralyzed when he was just 26, an accident that put an end to his love of contact sports – or so he thought.

His parents Teresa Sexton and her husband Kurt were deeply worried about what his future would be like following the accident.

“Well having been there when he was injured, and not really knowing what his recovery would be, it’s amazing to see where he’s gone”

Amazing, because after only a year of rehabilitation, he got back in to sports, but this time in a wheelchair.

“To be able to have a sport to be good at post accident has been great” said Wheeler.

Wheeler played for a team in Utah for a few years before making it on the USA National Team in 2010, and event went as an alternate player to the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

“I have really enjoyed being able to play wheelchair rugby all over the world.”

Now ten years later, he plays for a team in Tucson, Arizona and is preparing for the Rio Games in September.

“I have to do a lot of different things in order to keep in shape to play at that elite level.”

Despite the hardships he faced after his accident, his parents say they couldn’t be prouder.

“He says you know I can do anything anybody else can, it just takes me a little longer to figure out how to get it done. And I think we’re almost more proud of that hes overcome all this than the fact that he’s on the Olympic team.” said Sexton.

And are all ready for Rio.

“We’ll be there, we have tickets and are narrowing down housing this week.”

The trials for the USA Team headed to Rio are this week and will be officially selected on Sunday.

Wheeler says he thinks he has a pretty good chance.

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