Mark Zupan is a professional speaker and civil engineer from Austin, Texas who has become one of the premiere quad rugby players in the US. Mark has captured four Most Valuable Player awards at tournaments held around the country and was just recently named US Quad Rugby Associations Athlete of the Year.
Mark decided to pursue his engineering education at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. It was here that Mark first suited up and wheeled onto a rugby court. No stranger to athletic spots, Zupan quickly took to the game's hard-hitting action and, after graduating in 1999, he relocated to Austin, Texas, with hopes of joining the #2-ranked Stampede-and one day, the USA Paralympic Team.
Mark officially began playing the sport of Wheelchair Rugby in 1996. His training paid off. He became one of the most feared players on the Stampede, and was subsequently chosen for three National Teams. In 2002 he was voted Quad Rugby Player of the Year, and in 2004 he was a starter for Team USA at the Paralympics in Athens, Greece, where he led the team to a Bronze medal. He continues to compete and train, preparing for the 2008 summer Olympic games in Beijing.
Recently, Mark was the featured subject of a documentary titled Murderball (July 2005). This film, winner of the best documentary at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, treks the trials and tribulations of the US Quad Rugby Team as they prepare for the 2004 Paralympic Games of Athens.
The sport of Murderball (aka Quad Rugby) combines the finesse of soccer with the bone-jarring collisions of a demolition derby. The athletes use custom wheelchairs that look like something out of a Mad Max movie. Players careen around the court with reckless abandon, like a rock-em-sock-em NHL on wheels. They smash. They spill. They swear. They score. During the process, they also unwittingly seek and destroy stereotypes about the physically handicapped.
- An Insider's Look at Murderball
Celebrity, sports, Health, ADA, Attitude, Motivation, Youth, Adversity/Challenge
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