Retired Marine Corps Sergeant Josh Sweeney became a bilateral amputee after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Nowzad, Afghanistan in October 2009. For his sacrifice in combat, Sweeney received a Purple Heart. An able-bodied hockey player throughout high school, Sweeney was immediately drawn to sled hockey during his rehabilitation. He played on the San Antonio Rampage, a club sled hockey team made up entirely of injured military athletes, from 2010-13 alongside U.S. Paralympic teammates Jen Lee, Paul Schaus and Rico Roman.
Sweeney also played on the Dallas Stars club team in 2012, helping the Stars earn the 2012 USA Hockey Sled Classic title. He made his first U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2011 and has been a leader for Team USA ever since, serving as tri-captain of the national team for the 2012-13 season. In 2014, Josh was the assistant captain for Team USA, at the Paralympic Winter Games, in Sochi, Russia. Team USA won gold, with Josh scoring the winning goal.
Besides a Purple Heart and gold medal, Josh also received the inaugural Pat Tillman Award ESPY, for his service and selflessness.