US PARALYMPIAN GOLD MEDAL SWIMMER & NAVY VETERAN
TOPIC: TRIUMPH THROUGH ADVERSITY
‘FIRE IN MY EYES’
Brad Snyder began his professional career as a newly commissioned Ensign in the US Navy, having graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in Naval Architecture. Through his distinction as the swim team captain during his final year, he earned an assignment to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer training pipeline. After completing Navy Dive School, EOD School, and the Army's Airborne school, Brad moved to Charleston, SC for his first duty assignment.
From Charleston Brad deployed to Iraq in the Fall of 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon his return in the Spring he was re-assigned to a new unit in Virginia Beach, VA. Brad deployed again in the Spring of 2011, this time to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After six months of assault operations, Brad was severely injured and became permanently blinded after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) that was buried in the ground while trying to help other victims. The explosion took both his eyes, shattered his eardrum, and lacerated his face.
Brad sustained complete vision loss as a result of his injury, but did not suffer any other lasting wounds. As a part of his rehabilitation process Brad returned to the pool, and after a few short months of training was able to earn a spot on the US Paralympic National Team for swimming. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London he competed in seven events, earning two Gold Medals, and one Silver Medal. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio Brad won three Gold Medals and one Silver Medal.
Brad medically retired from Naval Service in the Fall of 2013. Brad has dedicated himself to the study and application of virtue in all aspects of life in order to eliminate perceived limitations and to enable his community’s pursuit of happiness. He aims to do this by setting a positive example in the pool, motivational speaking and eventually life coaching. Brad enjoys sharing his story of trials on the battlefield as well as the field of competition, and the lessons he's learned along the way. Through his engagement with various audiences, Brad hopes to inspire others to embrace challenge, conquer fears or inhibitions, and achieve happiness!