Travis Ricks Part of Super Bowl TV Ad

By Bill Kauffman | Feb. 03, 2015, 2:24 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 3, 2015) – As much of the United States and the world was transfixed to television sets and big screens on Sunday watching the Super Bowl, U.S. Men’s National Sitting Volleyball Team libero Travis Ricks gained a few seconds of national recognition and fame empowering viewers as commercial ad spots took prime viewing when there were breaks in the football action.

Ricks, a senior programs manager and athlete relations with Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), was shown in the Microsoft's Super Bowl commercial that highlighted Braylon O’Neill, a six-year-old who was born missing the tibia and fibula bones in both of his legs. O’Neill, thanks to Microsoft technology, is now thriving and playing sports with support and encouragement from individuals such as Ricks who is shown at approximately the 33-second mark of the commercial.

“Having a disability isn't necessarily something that people want to talk or think about, but when companies like Toyota and Microsoft show it in such a positive way it helps society to change their perceptions about what someone like Braylon or myself can do and the way others think about people with disabilities,” said Ricks, himself an above-the-knee amputee. “I'm pretty proud to be a part of this change.”

According to Ricks, the original video was produced last year by Microsoft. Ricks was asked to fly out to Rhode Island to film the two-minute commercial on behalf of the CAF. The worldwide technology company later condensed the message down to a one-minute commercial to air in this year’s Super Bowl.

“I think it's pretty amazing to see so many commercials this year showing people with disabilities in such a positive way,” Ricks said. “It shows how far we've come as a society and it makes me proud to belong to such an empowering group of individuals.”

Ricks competed in the 2014 ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships last June in which the U.S. Men finished in ninth place. Team USA will compete in the 2015 Parapan American Games held in Toronto in August with the chance to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil.

At the age of 17 Ricks was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, ultimately leading to the amputation of his right leg just above the knee by the time he was 23 years old. But that did not stop his athletic career. For more information on his athletic career post cancer, click here.

To learn more about Ricks, watch this video.

Super Bowl Microsoft Commercial: Click Here
Full-Length Microsoft Commercial: Click here