Brent Poppen

A Quadriplegic’s Journey From Paralysis To Paralympics

Brent Poppen


After all my worldwide athletic achievements, I encountered yet another mountain in my life that was a near death illness.  It came at a time when I was poised to begin training for the 2012 Paralympics in London.  The story of my near death experience came from an illness that took me almost one year to recover. 


Being fully recovered and restored, I knew it was time to stop and put my life story in print.  Hopefully my journey will encourage and inspire others to never give up on their dream. 


I want my life story to positively affect people with and without a disability, for it is the power of “believing” in others that creates an environment where anything is possible.


I will never take for granted the opportunities afforded me through these two national training programs. The staff with whom I have dealt directly, from my coaches Kevin, Gumby and Jason, as well as, the staff who have stretched, taped and arranged travel for me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is only because of this “staff” who believes in what we do and support our Paralympics dreams that “we” as disabled athletes have “Olympic” moments. These moments change lives forever! They may go unrecognized or unspoken too often, but your time and effort are essential and appreciated. It will not be too long before I am back training in the USA Tennis Paralympics Program to earn a spot on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro, podium! To most, five years may seem like a long time, but to a “Paralympian” … it is just one Olympic dream away.




I am fortunate and unique to have someone in my life, who sees beyond what I see, and truly believes in me and the positive impact that I can have on this world; someone like Dr. Richardson. Believing in someone 100% is a gift that is priceless and the most powerful experience I have ever felt! Thank you for this gift Lucile! You have shown me that believing in people is just not saying you believe. It is about knowing the persons, seeing their eyes, heart and soul, and believing the persons can accomplish what you believe they can do. It is the perceptible spirit that you see in someone that makes the difference.