Meet Jason Regier
As the USA Wheelchair Rugby Team competes in Rio this week, it will rely on the experience of veterans like Jason Regier to help guide them on the path to gold. After nearly 20 years of playing the sport, Regier is making his third trip to the Paralympic games and has also played in three world championships. We spent some time with Regier before he departed for Rio to talk about his life on and off the court.
After acquiring his injury in 1996, Regier spent time in a rehab hospital preparing for his return to daily life. During his last week there, he saw his first wheelchair rugby tournament on TV. Regier knew immediately that he wanted to get out and play. At his first practice, his coach told him something he’d never forget: “People have made a life out of rugby, played for their country and done some amazing things. That stuck with me,” Regier told us, and he has been playing ever since.
“I Need Rugby”
Wheelchair rugby has become one of the most important parts of Regier’s life, and he has relied on the sport to help him find himself and be active. As he told us “I wanted to be healthy and live the active life I want.” In fact, life without wheelchair rugby is painful. “I need rugby. If I don’t play rugby, I’m in pain,” said Regier.
Despite setbacks throughout his wheelchair rugby career, Regier remains confident and in love with his healthy and active life and offers some advice for others who may have acquired a disability. “Things take longer after an injury, but you’re amazed how much stronger and better you’ll get and how your mindset will change”.
When Regier is not on the court, he provides marketing and training consulting for companies and spends time with his wife and their new nine-month-old son Beckett.
A Veteran’s Perspective
Like any sport, wheelchair rugby is always evolving and Regier has seen how the game, rules, equipment and technology have all changed since he started playing.
But Regier told us that he is most excited about watching the players improve. He loves the adrenaline that comes with harnessing the energy of new teammates who are heading to their first Paralympic Games along with veterans who get to go back. As a team leader and someone that players and coaches rely on for advice, encouragement, and overall morale, he told us “being able to help younger players develop is phenomenal. To make a difference is the biggest motivator.”
For his parting words, Regier shared advice for young athletes who want to get involved in the sport: “Get online. Find the closest team, go out and play. Every team in the U.S., they will find a chair and show you how the game works. Get out there and do it, and have fun.”
There are a few different ways you can support Jason and the rest of the team:
Donate: To make a donation, go to usawr.org.