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Golden Anniversary: Blind Navy EOD Officer Swims for Gold Exactly One Year After Combat Injury

Exactly one year after losing his sight in Afghanistan, Navy Lt. Brad Snyder earned a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Christopher Lee / Getty Images for NBC News

An “Alive Day” is the anniversary of the day a wounded warrior was injured in combat. Some look at it as the day he or she escaped death. It may also be the day many of these brave men and women were left with lifelong scars—both visible and invisible.

It is a day to celebrate, not to mourn.

For Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, today is that day—and it is Golden. It was one year ago today that the former Naval Academy swim team captain was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device while on patrol in Afghanistan. One year ago today that a bomb blast took his eyesight but left him with every bit of God-given drive and determination he was born with. Today he is showing the world that he is still just as great—just as valuable—as he always has been.

Today is a golden anniversary for Snyder because less than an hour ago he swum for his third Paralympics medal, this time defeating the competition in the 400-meter Freestyle, finishing with a time of 04:32:41—three seconds faster than his qualifying time.

In the span of one year he has progressed from hospital bed to the medal stands at both the Warrior Games and the Paralympic Games in London. He is a shining example of the raw talent contained within our Armed Forces, and his story lends credence to idea that rehabilitation through adaptive sport is not only working—it’s winning gold medals.

Congratulations Lieutenant Snyder! You are a hero and an inspiration to us all.


the USO

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