Paul Rosen’s childhood dream mirrored the fantasy of virtually every young boy growing up in Canada: to play in the National Hockey League. ‘Rosey’ was well on his way to making that dream a reality. As a 15-year-old, Paul was already dominating at the highest levels of AAA midget hockey – until his dream became a nightmare.
Skating hard in a hockey tournament in 1975, Paul’s skate caught a rut causing his leg to jam, breaking his leg in 14 places. Paul’s leg was shattered, as well as his hopes of playing professional hockey.
“You’re going to die”
A doctor looked Paul square in the eyes in 1999 and delivered those four words. Paul’s leg had become so damaged, it came to the point where he had to choose between losing his leg and accepting this long term disability, or die within three months. In a life-defining decision, Paul opted – without hesitation – to have his leg amputated above the knee on June 9, 1999 – less than 24 hours after the doctor’s ultimatum.
From then on, Rosey’s perspective, mindset, and purpose would change forever.
Rosey’s leg was never the same again. For over two decades following the injury, Paul endured countless surgeries to repair his lifeless leg. In 1997, his leg finally gave out while standing in a German airport during his tenure as the Israeli Men’s Hockey team coach.
Rosey’s leg was in such bad shape, he needed another 14 procedures in the 18 months that followed.
Paul’s Athletic Accolades
Paul’s celebrated sledge hockey career wasn’t the only achievement the dynamic athlete captured in his prime. Rosey can also lay claim to:
- Competing in the Parapan Am summer games
- Winning a bronze medal in Sitting Volleyball for Canada at the Parapan Am games
- Being one of only a handful of athletes who’ve medaled in both summer and winter international competitions
- Receiving two Paul Harris Fellow Recognition Awards from the Rotary Club
- Being featured in Sled Head, a documentary about Sledge Hockey
To honour his lifetime of accolades, Paul received a Diamond Jubilee Medal directly from the Prime Minister of Canada and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.