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Taylor Lipsett overcomes rare condition to fulfill lifelong goal on U.S. sled hockey team

Growing up in Texas, U.S. sled hockey player Taylor Lipsett was like any little boy who loved sports.

"I watched him so many times standing at the patio door watching his brother and their friends play in the backyard," said Cheryl Lipsett, Taylor's mother. "And he couldn't play. He just stood there and watched."

Taylor couldn't join the fun because of a rare condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, more commonly known as brittle bone disease.

At age 5, Taylor was told he would never be able to play sports. Until he was 12, he would spend half of the year in a body cast from the chest down.

"When all my friends were going out and buying their first baseball glove or their first set of Little League football equipment, I was in a hospital bed with a broken bone," said Taylor, 27. "It basically just became a part of life.

"We knew [a broken bone] was coming. We always didn't know when."

The condition was so severe that Taylor would break a leg by just getting tangled up in his bed sheets at night.

"He would break [a bone] watching TV," Cheryl said. "He had a muscle spasm and broke his femur."

Ultimately, Cheryl made the tough decision to let Taylor be like any other kid. He was allowed to play outside and pursue his passions without any preferential treatment at home or at school.

"I never got any special breaks," Taylor said before catching himself and laughing. "I guess that's a bad analogy."

At 15, Taylor discovered the sport that would fulfill all of his dreams – sled hockey. He had played street hockey in a wheelchair with his brother, but to be able to play hockey on an ice rink was "amazing," Taylor recalled.

Sled hockey allowed Taylor to fulfill a lifelong goal of playing team sports. As a member of the U.S. sled hockey aquad, Taylor helped the Americans win gold at the 2010 Paralympic Games.

"Watching him be a part of a team – there's no words to describe it," Cheryl said. "Watching him with "USA" across his chest – his dream is fulfilled."

 

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