by Kelsey Gordon
Brent Rasmussen achieved the status of Captain of the USA Men's Sitting Volleyball team. Once an able-bodied young man, Rasmussen had to adjust to life with a disability after an accident in 2001, While he was trying to help someone whose car was stuck in the snow, another car slid out of control and hit him. He lost his left foot and needed a rod in his right leg. Brent Rasmussen more than coped with his injury, and as a former college baseball player, he did not allow his disability to interfere with his love of sports. Rasmussen proceeded to Join the Nebraska Barons wheelchair softball team, and then the Paralympic volleyball team that same year. In addition to his extensive athletic accomplishments, Brent Rasmussen is also a college graduate with a degree in small business management, which allowed him to become president of his own mortgage brokerage company.
Brent Rasmussen's personality and actions reflect shining character. Even before his disabling accident, he proved to be a motivated man with a strong work ethic that carried him through his college career and the beginning of his experience as a professional athlete, The conditions of his accident arose from a pure act of kindness - he took the initiative to pull over on a snowy night and help another driver who was stuck out of the The fact that these were the circumstances under which he was hit by another passing car only amplifies the devastation. Still his optimistic and positive mindset kept him in the game, and led him to his position as an Olympian. His pioneering work ethic is also reflected in his success as a businessman. Rasmussen says that he opened his mortgage brokering company to help "people who are striving to achieve their dreams," which is another example of his helpfulness and selfless motivations.
Sports as a Subculture
The Olympics are profusely covered by the media, with results as breaking news on television, gold-medal athletes gracing the covers of magazines, and instant celebrities being made of winners who become household names in both their own and other countries. Unfortunately, the world pays far less attention to the Paralympics despite the similar nature of the games. The International Olympic Committee originally created the Paralympic games with the intent of giving all people the opportunity to participate in sport. Equality may be achieved within the games itself, but there is little equality in the reactions from society, Why does society does deny disabled athletes the same honor and glory they give the able bodied? Brent Rasmussen is certainly a better volleyball player than most able bodied people, and the fact that he is in a wheelchair does not make him any less respectable. In fact, Paralympic athletes deserve that much more recognition and respect for their trials and triumphs, for having overcome their disabilities and making something great out of their lives.
Brent Rasmussen is the captain of the sitting volleyball team, therefore he has gone through a socialization process within the team , bonding with them and learning to work collectively. He has had to re-socialize while learning how to do simple everyday tasks in an entirely new way after his accident. Rasmussen's most prevalent resocialization process is the re-learning of how to play sports while in a wheelchair, and while some people may have found that experience disillusioning and frustrating, Brent Rasmussen persevered.
Brent Rasmussen partook in the 2004 Summer Paralympic Games. These games took place in Athens, Greece, after the Summer Olympic Games. Brent Rasmussen led his USA Sitting volleyball team to 6th place in the Paralympics.
Social Interaction and Competition
Brent Rasmussen is not a solo athlete, but a team captain. His interaction within his team is necessary to collaboratively succeed in his sport. Together, his team must compete against an opposing sitting volleyball team, which is composed of members who may share similar stories to his own. The mutual respect between all of the athletes allows for fair play and healthy competition, which is a concern for possible conflict in sport.
The Paralympic Games symbolize the goal for equality which is a widely recognized idea by people from all walks of life. Brent Rasmussen's incredibly inspiring story serves as a symbol of human ability and the power of the positive and determined mind. The comparison between the Olympics and the Paralympics and the difference between the public attention allotted to able-bodied athletes and the lack thereof for the disabled serves as a symbol of human prejudice against those who are disabled, but the existence of the Paralympics itself is an equal opportunity