MADISON, WI (WKOW) -- Madison resident Patrick McDonald takes great pride in representing his country. Now, the former army veteran is just a stone's throw away from a gold medal.
But McDonald took a major detour on the path to Sochi.
"My plan was, after the military, to kick field goals for the Oakland Raiders," said McDonald. "That's all changed"
Now, McDonald dreams of winning a medal as captain of the U.S. Paralympic Curling team.
"Good things happen, bad things happen. Both happened that day," McDonald said.
Twenty-two years ago, McDonald was stationed in Korea with the U.S. Army.
"The weight of the vehicle made the ground give way going around a turn over an embankment," said McDonald. "We flipped...and my back just pretzeled up."
McDonald was crushed under a supply box weighing 1,300 pounds.
"Sports was my way of getting back into the world, I guess," said McDonald.
This will be McDonald's second trip to the Olympics. He is coached by Steve Brown, one of the most decorated curlers in America.
"I had never worked with disabled people at all," said Brown. "I honestly didn't think I would be a very good fit. I didn't think I could adjust."
Three years ago, McDonald moved his wife and two children from their home in California to Madison.
"They moved the family just so he could train with me full time on a daily basis," said Brown. "To me that kind of commitment says that this is a guy who not only deserves a medal, but I think he's going to get a medal."
"My life took a different path that day," said McDonald. "And I think it was for the better because I wouldn't have been able to everything I've done."
McDonald is hoping he can help the U.S. bring home their first ever Paralympic curling medal.