Daily Bruin, September 25, 2000
Section offers other side of athletics, big games
by Pauline Vu

I've written at least 100 articles for the Daily Bruin, featured people currently in Sydney and covered athletes who've won national championships.

And one thing I've learned is that it's not always the biggest, best or brand-name athletes who have the stories to tell.

Sometimes you can learn a lot from the ones who love the sport so much they'd pay for the honor of playing it.

A year ago I wrote a story about Sean Gjos, a UCLA club hockey player who had slammed into the boards during a game and crushed a part of his spine. He was rendered paraplegic.

Before the interview we talked on the phone first and agreed to meet at The Anderson School, where Gjos was taking classes. I described myself so that he'd know what to look for.

"I'm 5-foot-6 and I'll be carrying a small notebook," I told him.

"Okay," he said. "I'm 6-feet tall and I'll be in a wheelchair."

On March 3, 1999, while playing in the club national championship tournament, Gjos (pronounced "Joss"), playing the game he adored, took a routine body check that changed his life forever.

On the ice and in pain, he was taken to the hospital where he found out that he had less than a 5 percent chance of ever walking again. But he didn't let this discourage him.

As I learned over the phone, he could make fun of his condition. His friend Jimmy Young remembered one time he asked Sean, "Hey, what's up?"

"Nothing," Gjos replied. "I woke up this morning and still couldn't walk."

He didn't just joke about it. He found strength and rebounded. He turned what could have been misery into an opportunity.

Gjos helped set up the Spinal Cord Opportunities for Rehabilitation Endowment, also known as SCORE, an organization that both raises money to fund research about paraplegia and seeks people living with paraplegia to help them financially. Next Page



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