NAVY EOD, LT. BRAD SNYDER
U.S. 2012 Para-olympian Gold Medalist and wounded Navy Lt. Brad Snyder comes to Jacksonville
to compete in the NEVER QUIT 5k, TRIDENT & WARRIOR CHALLENGE. Listen to Brads amazing story on Friday & Saturday,
May 17 & 18, 2013 at the Sea Walk Pavilion and on race day.
Brad Snyder is currently the No. 1-ranked blind swimmer in the world. He can swim 100 meters in less than a minute. That’s almost Michael Phelps-fast. Even if the 28-year-old explosive ordnance disposal
(EOD) officer still had his sight, a sub-sixty-second 100-meter time would be worthy of national praise.
In September 2011, the former captain of his Naval Academy swim team was leading a patrol in Afghanistan on a life-saving mission to find and disarm improvised explosive devices (IED’s) placed by Taliban militants.
As Snyder’s team moved through farm land, a mine went off injuring two allied Afghan fighters at the front of their column. When Snyder rushed to their aid, he stepped on a second pressure plate, setting off another explosion. The initial shock wave knocked his goggles off, leaving his eyes exposed to the blinding flash of the blast.
He knew he was hurt pretty bad, but he still had some vision as he walked to the extraction helicopter. When he arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center a few dayslater, however, he was told he would lose his sight forever.
Snyder had no plans playing victim. Weeks after he was released from the hospital he began running with his younger brother—connected by a short piece of rope and a lifetime of mutual respect.The Snyder brothers ran together for weeks before Brad decided he wanted to get back in the pool “where he belonged.”
“The water is my home,” he said. “It’s my safe-haven. It’s a place where without my sight I still feel like I can be free to push myself physically, and it’s the only place where I don’t feel anxiety, like I’m about to run into something or hurt myself.”
At the 2012 Warrior Games—an annual Paralympics competition held in Colorado Springs Snyder re-entered the world of competitive swimming for the first time since his injury. “Here’s a guy with everything in the world going for him,” said Will Wilson, head coach of the Navy / Coast Guard Team. “A young lieutenant out there on the pointy end of the spear saving lives and he has a bad day—a bad day that robbed him of his sight. Fortunately it didn’t rob him of his soul, which has given him new vision toward competitive swimming and track.”
“I want to do the same things I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. I’m just a little more driven to accomplish them because I understand how easily situations can change.”
On September 7, 2012, Snyder got back in the pool in search of a gold medal in London Paralympics and got it, and a new world record, one that would bring his total up to three medals. (two gold, one silver)
The former Naval Academy swimmer Brad Snyder is flying to Jacksonville, Florida to compete in the May 19, NEVER QUIT Trident Challenge. Brad’s partner at NEVER QUIT will be Bethany Hamilton, she will be there to guide Brad in the run, connecting the two by a rope.
Female champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, plans to help Brad in the paddle portion of the Trident as she paddles next to him with one arm, directing him when waves are approaching, where the buoys are and when he is approaching the finish line back at the beach. A perfect team who has a true NEVER QUIT spirit.
Wearing one of his old college caps with the Navy emblem on one side and the American flag on the other, Brad’s racing to represent the love of his country, and for those who Never Quit. He’s racing to help restore his self-image as a fully capable man — a sacred piece of himself he lost when the IED detonated in his face. He’s racing to deliver a deeper message, a NEVER QUIT message about thriving amid life’s occasional rough waters.
Join Brad and the thousands who will NEVER QUIT for themselves and others at Jacksonville Beach on May 19, 2013. Armed Forces Day.
Listen to Brad Snyder and Bethany Hamilton tell their amazing stories on the Sea Walk Pavilion stage, prior to the movie Soul Surfer, in front of 10,000 participants and fans.
Watch videos on Brad here: