WNY Sled Hockey heroes inspire on and off the ice

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Marine Lance Corporal Paul Schaus and Adam Page have been called “heroes” for leading the U.S. Sled Hockey Team to a gold medal at the Sochi Paralympics, last March. But Schaus and Page are real heroes in every sense of the word, both on and off the ice.

Schaus lost both legs when he stepped on a land mine in 2009 during a firefight with terrorists in Afghanistan. Schaus, 24, enlisted when he was 17, and had already served eight months in Iraq prior to his injury in Afghanistan.

Schaus’ recovery has been long and hard, both physically and emotionally.

He said, “After your injury, there’s a lot of things that are different in your life. You come back, and just the easiest task could be something very difficult that you might not be able to do yourself.”

Then two years ago, Massachusetts-based “Homes for our Troops” built the Kenmore West graduate a fully-accessible home from the ground up in North Tonwanda, to help him make the adjustment. But before the new home was done, burglars broke in twice.

Schaus refused to let the setbacks get him down.

“That kind of thing will happen, I guess, and I don’t think it should reflect the community, or anything like that, or the actions of one person, or individuals.”

The gold medal winner credits his family and friends for his inspiration, and hockey, which has lifted him, on the sled, beyond his wildest dreams.

“You are representing the millions of people that live in this country to a whole different nation, a whole different type of people, that all they see about this country is what they see on the news. To be able to go over there and represent the USA, proudly and bring home the gold, is just a great feeling.”

Adam Page has been a trailblazer since he was 2-years-old. Page and his family took part in an experiment to try out an electrical stimulation device in Canada. The Toronto-based developer claimed the device could help Page overcome the spina bifida he was born with.

The device failed Page, but it did not stop him, and the St. Mary’s High School graduate is spreading the news.

“To kind of go out and tell people, just because you have a disability does not mean your life is over. You still can make something of your life and be successful.”

Page is in high demand as an inspirational speaker, for both young people and adults. Last month, Page was invited to speak to the Niagara University Women’s Lacrosse Team, and tries to inspire others to overcome the obstacles life has thrown at them.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling that you get, that you know you can make a difference in other people’s lives,” said Page, who makes a powerful, multi-media presentation when asked to speak.

To stay at the top of their game, Schaus and Page practice and play regularly in sled hockey leagues. They are looking forward to the next Paralympics in four years.

The Winter Games in South Korea willd be Schaus’ second, and Page’s third.

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