Steve Emt during the wheelchair curling round robin match against Team China at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 8, 2022 in Beijing.
When two-time Paralympic wheelchair curler Steve Emt was 25 — after one too many drinks at a bar with friends — he got behind the wheel of his brand new pickup. Going 85mph, he blacked out and drove off the road. The truck rolled 75 feet, throwing Emt, who said he never wore a seat belt, out the back window. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he woke up from a coma days later to find out he was paralyzed from the waist down.
“My accident changed my life, but it also possibly saved my life,” Emt shared.
Today — along with being a Paralympian — he is a mentor, motivational speaker and author.
Last year, he put out a book: You D.E.C.I.D.E.: A six-step action plan to becoming the hero of your own life. In it, he shared details of his life before and after that fateful night 27 years ago.
A recurring theme in chapters in his book and his life is sports.
In high school, he lettered in three different sports; one was basketball. He still holds the record as the all-time leading scorer. After graduating, he attended West Point as a cadet and went to college at the University of Connecticut, where he earned a spot on the men’s basketball team as a walk-on.
“At 25 years old, I had my whole life ahead of me,” the Hebron, Connecticut native said. “I had a girlfriend; at the time, we were talking marriage and house and dog, and all that. But then I made a terrible decision to drink and drive, and look at me now.”
After his accident, he taught middle school math for 20 years, sharing his warning tale with young people as their teacher and as a high school basketball coach. “For me, what inspires me is the opportunity to make a difference in somebody else’s life,” the vice skip said.
“When I was teaching seventh grade, 12 and 13-year-olds were coming into my classroom and seeing somebody in a wheelchair for probably the first time in their life. So on the very first day, I would put their mind at ease and tell them the truth.”