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CATCHING UP WITH MICHAEL GODFREYS: Swinging for the Games

CATCHING UP WITH MICHAEL GODFREYS: Swinging for the Games

(Courtesy of ProRodeo Sports News / By TRACY RENCK)

Michael Godfrey was a weekend warrior in the PRCA as a saddle bronc rider and bull rider. Until his life changed forever.

The Texas cowboy was paralyzed after he fell awkwardly from a bull in El Paso, Texas, Feb. 9, 1996.

“It shattered my fifth and sixth (cervical vertebrae of the spine),” said Godfrey, who had been competing
in rodeo for nearly 20 years at the time of the accident. “I knew I was hurt bad.”
Godfrey, 56, was initially paralyzed from the neck down and spent three months in the hospital. He regained
movement of his arms.

While hospitalized, Godfrey saw people playing wheelchair sports.

“They were playing ping pong (table tennis) and I thought, ‘I played some ping pong,’” Godfrey said. “I thought
it was something I could do. I played competitively for three years (after being injured), but I had to stop because I
couldn’t afford to play it because you have to go play in other countries.”

By 1999, Godfrey’s life was at a crossroads, and he uprooted from Arlington, Texas, where he was living.

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