Patrick McDonald is the captain or “skip” of the US Paralympic curling team. He began curling in 2008 and won a spot on the Team USA only a year later.
To train, Patrick moved his wife and two children from California to balmy Madison, Wisconsin – which saw temperatures of minus 50 degrees F (with wind chill) this winter!
Patrick was paralyzed in 1991 in an accident while serving with the Army in South Korea. Sports were a key part of his rehab. He excelled in wheelchair basketball, swimming, golf and table tennis, then decided that to be an all-around athlete he should practice a winter sport. Patrick felt “a bit old” for downhill skiing, “seeing how fast these kids go.” Then he saw a curling game in 2008 on TV and promptly threw his first “stones.”
Patrick first made the US team as an alternate to the 2009 World Wheelchair Curling Championship, then competed in the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, where the team finished fourth. “The bronze medal match game came down to the final stone, and we lost by about half an inch,” he recalls.
Patrick was sidelined with shoulder surgery in 2011 but came back strong in 2012, becoming skip and leading the team to a fifth place finish in the 2012 Worlds and fourth in 2013.
Unlike stand-up curling, there are no sweepers in wheelchair curling to alter the ice and affect a stone’s trajectory. Sweepers can be 30-40% of the game, Patrick says, so execution in wheelchair curling has to be even more precise.Back To Athletes