Rasmussen Elected to USAV Board as Sitting Rep

By Bill Kauffman | Jan. 08, 2015, 4:23 p.m. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 8, 2015) – Brent Rasmussen (Omaha, Neb.) has been elected to the USA Volleyball Board of Directors as the first-ever Sitting Volleyball Athlete representative.

The Sitting Volleyball Athlete position was added to the Board after USA Volleyball became the National Governing Body for sitting volleyball last summer. Rasmussen, elected from eligible sitting volleyball athletes who have played on the U.S. Sitting National Team within the last 10 years, will represent current men’s and women’s sitting volleyball athletes on the Board.

Rasmussen competed on the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team from 2003 to 2011 and served as the squad’s captain at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.

"After 10 years of playing sitting volleyball and seeing the results the men’s and women’s team have progressed to, I am ecstatic to have the U.S. Sitting Teams be included under USA Volleyball,” Rasmussen said. “Seeing and experiencing the growing pains the Sitting Program has endured and conquered, I look forward to bringing my experiences to the Board of Directors to take the program to the next level.”

Along with competing in the 2004 Paralympics, Rasmussen served as captain for both the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Men’s Sitting Teams competing at the World Sitting Volleyball Championships. Rasmussen helped Team USA earn the gold medal at the 2003 Parapan American Games, along with silver medals in 2007 and 2011 in the same event. He served as an athlete/player representative to the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) from 2006 to 2010.

"The addition of Brent Rasmussen to the USA Volleyball Board of Directors is an important step towards giving our men's and women's sitting volleyball teams a strong voice, and enhancing our role as the official governing body of sitting volleyball,” said Lori Okimura, chair of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors. “His perspective and representation of sitting volleyball will be a wonderful complement to an already diverse Board. We are all very eager to start working with Brent to keep supporting the success of the sitting teams as we approach the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016.”

Along with reaching the pinnacle of the sitting volleyball world, Rasmussen has also made a name for himself in the corporate world. He currently is president of Mortgage Specialists, LLC, a small local company based in Omaha he started in May 2004. He also served as senior loan officer for Regent Financial Group from three years before taking his current position. Rasmussen feels his time spent competing and corporate experience will be an asset in his transition to the USA Volleyball Board.

"I know my experiences with business, networking, friendship and teammates will allow me to work for what is best for the program and all of the Sitting Volleyball athletes we currently have training and for the up and coming disabled athletes to participate at a high level in representing the United States. My goal as a child was to represent what is best of the United States, and I have done that as an athlete and now look forward to representing these athletes on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors.”

Rasmussen served as president of the Nebraska Association of Mortgage Brokers (NEAMB) in 2009 after two years as treasurer of the organization from 2007-2008. He was chosen as a Midland Business Journal Omaha’s Top 40 Under 40 recipient.

Rasmussen earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he played collegiate baseball for four years. In 1999, he signed a professional baseball contract as a pitcher for the Gulf Coast Royals as part of the Kansas City Royals farm system. Rasmussen compiled a 2-1 record with a 2.25 ERA in 32 innings over 17 relief appearances in his first professional season.

In February of 2002, Rasmussen’s life change dramatically. He was driving in eastern Nebraska and noticed another car had slid off the road on Interstate 80. He pulled over to help the driver get her car back on the pavement when he was struck by another vehicle. He lost his left foot. His right ankle was shattered, and he ended up with a 16 inch rod in his right leg.

After recovering from his injuries, Rasmussen was invited to play on the Nebraska Barons wheelchair softball team. In his first season, he broke records for home runs, doubles, intentional walks and on-base percentage at the 2003 National Wheelchair Softball Tournament as the Barons won the first of eight championship and Rasmussen earned his first of five most valuable player awards. Rasmussen was inducted into the National Wheelchair Softball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Playing wheelchair softball opened the doors to new opportunities. During his first season in 2003, members of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team noticed Rasmussen playing and asked him to tryout for their team. In October 2003, Rasmussen attended a tryout in Chicago and quickly made an impression that enabled a long sitting volleyball career at the elite international level.

Rasmussen has been an active motivational speaker for disabled sports athletes.

Additional Info on Brent Rasmussen:
- Feature - Bio