Brody Roybal competes in the sledge hockey semifinals against Team China at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games on March 11, 2022 in Beijing.
Roybal is a congenital bilateral amputee, born without a femur in both legs. Growing up in Northlake, Illinois, he played softball, basketball, skateboarding and hockey. He liked the physique of contact sports. Using his elbows as his knees, he thrived on launching himself out of bed, the sofa and the stairs growing.
His family supported him no matter how many injuries he had to overcome.
“They sacrificed so much so I could be here that this one is for them,” he said of his gold medal win in Beijing.
At West Leyden High School in Northlake, Roybal was a competitive college wrestler in the 120-pound weight class while also entering the USA Sledge Hockey program as a teenager with fellow teens at the time Declan Farmer, Noah Grove and Jack Wallace. Since then, he has won three Paralympic titles and three world titles. He was named Most Valuable Player at the 2018 Paralympic Games and the 2021 World Championships.
For the past three years Roybal has lived in Nashville with Farmer, Wallace, Josh Misiewicz and Travis Dodson. They all settled there to train together for four hours a day.
“We just love each other. We’re like family, and that’s why we get along so well,” Roybal said. “We trained so hard it was crazy. We moved to Nashville in the only purpose of training for these Games.
During the medal ceremony at the National Indoor Stadium on Sunday, Roybal wore his emotions on his sleeve – this time fully understanding the gravity of what a Paralympic title meant.
“It was a really cool feeling. I think you could see it in my face,” Roybal said. “Nothing compares to finishing the game on top and coming together to celebrate with your team.
“I owe my life to this game and this team. This team has done so much for me. I wouldn’t be where I am as a person without this game.”