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Kansas man to represent Team USA in wheelchair rugby at 2024 Paris Paralympics

Posted: 6:13 PM, Jul 07, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-08 08:33:05-04
Brad Hudspeth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brad Hudspeth, of Stilwell, Kansas, has been training for the better part of a decade for the opportunity to wear a hat that reads, “Team USA.”

"For years, I'm told, ‘No, you're not good enough.' And then work hard, train and then finally make it ... now here we are heading to the Paralympics,” said Hudspeth, Paralympic wheelchair rugby player.

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Brad Hudspeth

His road to Paris started when he was just a teenager.

“I broke my neck when I was 15 diving into shallow water, and [it] became a C5, C6 incomplete spinal cord injury,” Hudspeth said.

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After his accident, he received rejection after rejection from Team USA as he tried to take his hobby to the professional level.

“The goal was always to make Team USA," he said. "Then, after making Team USA, the goal was to make the Paralympic team."

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Brad Hudspeth

He did, and he said his wife and kids were who kept him going.

“There were times where he would say, ‘Maybe I just throw in the towel,'" said Nicole Hudspeth, Brad's wife. "I'm like, 'You cannot stop now. You're the closest that you've ever been. Keep going.'"

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Nicole Hudspeth

Hudspeth proved he’s ready for Paris, and he’s ready for Team USA to get its top ranking back in wheelchair rugby. Team Australia moved into the first spot after the last tournament.

“USA has been No. 1 for many, many years. So, every tournament we go to, there's always a target on our back, and everybody wants to play their best against us,” Hudspeth said.

The Paralympic Games start Aug. 28 and conclude Sept. 8.