Summer Series: Getting to Know Barry Schroeder

May 18, 2018, 1:38 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Viesturs Lacis/IBSF

 

To kick off the 2022 Olympic quad, USA Bobsled & Skeleton is speaking with a potential 2022 Olympic or Paralympic athlete each week to get to know more about their careers, personalities and outside interests.


Originally from Sebring, Ohio, para bobsled athlete Barry Schroeder juggles competing, a full-time career as a paramedic and fatherhood. He has been racing on the para bobsled World Cup circuit for the past three years and was Team USA’s most consistent slider this year, finishing in the top-six in every race.


Before bobsled, Schroeder played football and baseball in high school, and he credits teammate Jason Sturm for getting him involved in sliding.


USABS sat down with Schroeder to talk about his career, both athletic and professional, and the sport of para bobsled and where he sees it heading.


USABS: Can you talk a little bit about your story with your injury and how it led you to para bobsled?


BS: I was in a motorcycle accident in 2012 where a car came left of center and hit me almost head on. The accident left me with an instant amputation of my left lower leg. After my accident, I started reaching out to other amputees and made a good friend in Jason Sturm. I give Jason a lot of credit in getting me going with the sport, and helping my development along. Coincidentally, he’s my best friend in this sport, we travel together, we room together and usually speak at the least once a week even during the offseason.


USABS: You also have a full-time career. Is it difficult to balance sports and a professional career?


BS: I am a paramedic, I work for University Hospitals and also oversee all of our EMS operations in my hometown. It’s almost impossible to balance everyday life and bobsledding. I’m also married with three kids, and I work close to 60 hours a week. Sometimes I wonder how I am able to continue to slide with the responsibilities at home. I couldn’t do it without the support from my family, that’s for sure.


USABS: What is your favorite sliding memory?


BS: Funny enough, my favorite memory is my crash in Norway with three curves to go. I was ahead by almost two seconds and flipped the sled. It’s such a funny story to tell. It probably wouldn’t be as funny if I hadn’t still been able to finished third along with winning the previous race.


USABS: Last year, para bobsled was provisionally approved for the 2022 Paralympic Games. Can you talk a little bit about that decision and what it means for you and the sport?


BS: Well, only seated bobsled is accepted. I’m classified as a “push” athlete. So as of now, athletes like myself and Jason Sturm are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Paralympics. The IBSF has made a commitment to developing the push and skeleton sides of para sliding sports this upcoming season, so hopefully we are able to get these two disciplines in also. But to answer your question, that’s why we are all here, for our chance to represent our country on the world stage. It would mean the world to me.


USABS: What do you wish people knew about your sport?


BS: I wish people knew what was involved to prepare for the season and races. Mentally, physically and financially.


USABS: How have you seen para bobsled change and develop since you began the sport?


BS: Well, we have more athletes than ever. The days of showing up and meda;ling because only a handful of athletes are here are over. The competition is here, we have more athletes and more nations involved then ever. It’s evenly matched, and the competition is amazing.


USABS: What is something that fans of the sport might not know about you?


BS: That I’m a father of three little girls, and I can French braid with the best of them.


Lightning round:


USABS: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?


BS: Back in time.


USABS: What's your favorite food?


BS: Zep’s Pizza.


USABS: Who would play you in a movie version of your life?


BS: My buddy and actor Kurt Yaeger.


USABS: What is your favorite bobsled track to slide?


BS: Lillehammer, because I adore the track personnel there.


USABS: Who is your favorite band or musical artist?


BS: I’m Huge Shinedown and Colt Ford fan!


Be sure to follow Schroeder on Twitter @BASchroderJr and find him on his Facebook page, Barry A. Schroeder Jr. - Adaptive Athlete!


Kristen Gowdy, USABS Marketing and Media Assistant, kristen.gowdy@usabs.com, (719) 722-0522