W2W grantee talks wheelchair rugby, #1 Team USA

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Ernie (4th from left) jokes around with his Team USA “brothers”.

Ernie (4th from left) jokes around with his Team USA “brothers”.

One year ago, thirty-one-year-old Ernie Chun was preparing for the USA Wheelchair Rugby National Team tryouts. After securing his spot, he began rigorous practices using his new rugby wheelchair funded in part by a Will2Walk Life Enhancement Grant.

“Being a part of Team USA has been an amazing experience,” reflects Ernie. “The team has become like a second family during my time training with them and competing along side of them.”

Ernie’s training has become more vigorous in order to stay competitive, and he has spent most of the last year traveling for competitions to places such as Denmark, Australia, and the American Zonal Championships in Alabama.

Team USA competes under the lights in front of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.

Team USA competes under the lights in front of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.

“We were able to win gold at all three events and regain our #1 seed in the world,” remarks Ernie. “Sydney was my favorite location since it was my first time visiting.”

Although Ernie finds it a challenge to balance his personal life with his demanding schedule now that he plays rugby year round, he considers being a part of Team USA the opportunity of a lifetime.

“This experience has been life changing,” concludes Ernie. “Not many people are able to play a sport that they love at an elite level, let alone be part of a team that is the best in the world.”

To read Ernie’s story about his injury and path to earning a spot on Team USA, click here. To follow Team USA’s progress, visit their Facebook page.

Ernie (L) challenges a competitor for the ball.

Ernie (L) challenges a competitor for the ball.

Ernie continues to stay involved locally, recently competing in Duel in the Desert at SpoFit (pictured with Will2Walk Secretary Dawn Tilford.)

Ernie continues to stay involved locally, recently competing in Duel in the Desert at SpoFit (pictured with Will2Walk Secretary Dawn Tilford.)

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