Despite the little snowfall this past winter, Morgan Hosbrough is spending much of her time on the ice. Morgan, a sophomore forensic biology major from Columbus, Ohio, plays on the USA Women’s Sledge Hockey Team, which travels throughout North America.
Athletes with a physical impairment in the lower part of the body play this highly physical and fast-paced sport, also known as sled hockey. Instead of using skates on the ice, players sit on double-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath them. Each player has two sticks; each has a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.
Morgan has played the sport for five years and has qualified for the U.S. team for three years. This past year, her team had eight games on its schedule, and they even had the opportunity to play Canada’s team in November.
“When you’re out playing sled hockey, you’re playing with people just like you,” Morgan said. “You’re playing with people who understand you.”
As a student, Morgan spends her time completing class work and fitting sled hockey into her schedule. Practices can be time-consuming and require travel, but her love for the sport is what keeps her dedicated.
“Once I get on the ice, I can do anything,” said Morgan. “When people see you off the ice, they pity you. But once you get on the ice, they envy you.”
The USA Women’s Sledge Hockey Team will play exhibition games at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea. In 2022, the USA women’s team, along with teams from Canada, Europe and other countries, will compete for a medal.