(CBS) — Brody Roybal got a surprise at an assembly at West Leyden High School. Roybal thought the girl’s bowling team is being honored for winning 2nd place in the state championship. What he didn’t know was that it was all for him.
“I was just in shock that they put this whole thing together for me,” said Roybal.
The sophomore, born without legs, is heading to Sochi, Russia to compete as part of the 2014 Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
“It’s such an honor to be only 15 years old and being able to go over to Sochi and compete for the country that I love,” said Roybal.
Roybal started competing in sled hockey at the age of seven.
“We’ve always treated him just like our other son and anybody else. We’ve never treated him any different,” said Bob Roybal, Brody’s father.
“I’m just so proud. He’s such a positive kid. He really is,” said Brody’s mother Michelle.
Taking part in the Paralympic Winter Games is the realization of a lifelong dream for the 15-year-old, who has been trained by three coaches over the past eight years.
“Never let anything knock you down. Me with a disability, anybody else with a disability, nothing can hold you down. Follow what you want to do and just do it,” said Brody.
“If each of us could do just a little bit of what Brody has been able to do, I think the whole world would be a better place. We’re all very, very proud of him and ‘Go USA!’” said J.J. O’Connor, Brody’s coach.
Roybal gets up every morning at 5 to practice on the ice, then heads to school. He leaves for Sochi Wednesday.