The original hardcore wheelchair athlete, Mark Zupan, who was paralyzed in 1993 after being thrown from the back seat of his friend’s car (and hung on for dear life to a tree branch for 14 hours while waiting for help), is one of those amazing paralyzed athletes who other athletes with paralysis have been trying to emulate for years, and for good reason.
Mark Zupan was all about soccer before his injury, and even had a full-ride scholarship ready to go. And instead of taking on wheelchair power soccer after he became paralyzed (which would‘ve made sense…), Mark was after a much more intense sport, and what gets more intense than quad rugby a.k.a. Murderball?
Why he’s fearless
Mark has completely dominated the world of quad rugby since first getting into the sport. While studying at Georgia Tech, he became a two-time national champion and was the 2004 quad rugby player of the year. But it didn’t stop there. Oh no.
Mark helped make the sport cutting edge, cool even, and snagged Hollywood’s attention in 2004. A film ended up being made about quad rugby and the players on Mark’s team, called Murderball (which if you haven’t seen it yet, you simply must to see some super funny guys who refuse to call it quits).
Murderball went on to win a number of minor film awards, and it put quad rugby in the pop culture-sphere. Mark’s tough quad rugby skills even caught the attention of the guys behind the Jackass movies, and Mark was in Jackass Number Two (where he gets pushed off a ramp in is wheelchair with carbon dioxide tanks rigged up to it, and gets pushed into a lake by Chris Pontius).
He also went on to become a member of the 2008 Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby team and was Captain, helping lead the team to win the gold medal at the 2008 games.
Taking a break from the 2012 Paralympics and letting the younger guys have their day in the sun, Mark’s moved on to more artistic endeavors, such as acting (he was on the reality show Nitro Circus) and producing films (he was the associate producer of the 2010 film Monogamy starring Rashida Jones and Chris Messina).
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