Interview With Taylor Lipsett, U.S. Ice Sled Hockey Star:

Please describe the condition you have that qualifies you for the Paralympic Games.
Taylor: I was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta when I was 5 years old, which is also known as brittle bones.
How many bones had you broken by the age of 5? How many have you broken in your life?
Taylor: I believe I had only broken 5-6 times by the age of 5, but it was enough for them to know something was wrong. To date, I have broken around 110 times and have had about 30 surgeries to repair and strengthen broken bones.
Why did you first start playing ice sled hockey?
Taylor: I never had the opportunity to play organized sports growing up because I was always in a cast, but the breaks really slowed down in high school. When I was 15 and introduced to sled hockey, I was hooked immediately. I had been a hockey fan ever since the Stars moved to Dallas, and had even played some street hockey in my wheelchair with my brother and friends. But sled hockey took my passion for the game to a new level, and I committed myself to the sport and to becoming a U.S. Paralympian.
How many hours a week do you work on your craft?
Taylor: 12 to 15 hours a week would be average.
What are the precautions you must take to play your sport?
Taylor: Playing with brittle bones, I obviously have to be a little more heads up than most players. I just try not to put myself in any compromising situations, and try to always be aware of where I am on the ice and my surroundings.
Other than the sleds, what are main differences between ice sled hockey and the NHL?
Taylor: Honestly, there really aren't any differences when it comes to the game. I guess the main one would be that we can't skate backwards like NHL players do. And we only play 15 minute periods as opposed to 20 minutes like the NHL. But all in all, the game is the same. Fast paced, hard hitting, high intensity, and the skill level is unbelievable considering we use both hands to not only skate, but pass and shoot with as well. We also don't have sticks that flex, so all of the power in our shots is coming from upper body strength and technique. I've seen shots clocked at over 70 mph!
Can you describe the good that comes from disabled people watching athletes (such as yourself) compete in the Paralympic Games?
Taylor: I think the main benefit is awareness! Growing up, I had no idea what the Paralympics were or the opportunities that were out there. With the Paralympic movement growing and awareness spreading, I think a lot more disabled people will see what's out there for them and what can be accomplished.
What would you consider your most incredible accomplishment?
Taylor: Definitely becoming a Paralympic Gold Medalist! I have accomplished a lot of other things in life, but to date, that one tops the list!
What are your personal goals ... beyond scoring them?
Taylor: In regards to sled hockey, my goal is to contribute to my teams success and have an impact on the game at the grass roots level! I have been a part of some great teams that have written the history book in the world of sled hockey. Hopefully the final chapter will be becoming the first team to win back-to-back Paralympic Gold Medals!
Once you hang up the sled, what's next?
Taylor: After Sochi, I am planning on switching gears and focusing on life away from hockey. I have had an amazing 10-year career on the U.S. Sled Hockey team, and I think it's about time to pass the reins onto the next generation of players such as Declan Farmer, Brody Roybal, and Josh Pauls. USA Sled Hockey will be in very good hands with those three leading the team for many years to come.

For me, I am going to finish my MBA and start on some certifications that will help me further my career in investment management. My ultimate goal is to help professional athletes manage their finances and preserve their wealth, so it's time to start taking steps towards accomplishing that goal.

I am also planning on focusing on my family, and making up for lost time with my wife, Kathleen. I actually still owe her a honeymoon because I have always used all of my vacation at work to travel for hockey, so that is the #1 to-do on the list!
Want to give a shout out to a certain doctors or facilities that made your Olympic career possible?
Taylor: I have two shout outs! First is to my doctor, Dr. James Sackett, for putting me back together over and over again, and encouraging me to go after my dreams, even if it meant injuries along the way. And second is to Omega Crossfit and the owner/head coach, Eric Hughes, for taking me in just as any other athlete and pushing me to exceed my limits. I have become a better player and had the best season of my career in 2012 after joining his gym! After an injury plagued 2013, I am excited to be healthy and back to training at Omega Crossfit heading into the Paralympics.
What do partnerships (such as your one with Bounty) make possible?
Taylor: Partnering with Bounty and P&G's Thank You Mom Campaign has been amazing and added a whole new perspective to my Paralympic journey. In previous Paralympics, I have just focused on me, but this time around, I am getting to share my journey with my mom, and share our story with thousands of people through our "Raising An Olympian" film, which gives people a behind the scenes look at what it was like to raise a child with a disability, and help them become a Paralympic Champion! It has really made my Road to Sochi that much more exciting. I can't thank them enough for all of their support!
Taylor Lipsett, U.S. Ice Sled Hockey Player
Follow Taylor in his quest for gold on Twitter @USASledSniper7 and don't forget to cheer on Taylor & Co. at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games (March 7-16, 2014).

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