The Olympic & Amateur Sports Hub
James Stuck Inspires and Wins Award USA Volleyball Award
- Updated: January 8, 2014
In December 2005, James Stuck suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of his right leg, in an IED attack in Kirkuk, Iraq.
After nearly a year in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Stuck was determined not to let the loss of his right leg stop him from being active.
Eight years later, and Stuck was named USA Volleyball’s Sitting Athlete of the Year.
“I just love playing,” said Stuck, who received a Purple Heart. “After everything I’ve gone through, with losing my leg and all the injuries, just being able to still play sports is the highlight, period.”
Stuck has established himself as a key player on the U.S. national men’s team.
He was the starting setter for the team at the Pan American Zonal Championships, when they ran a new offensive system.
“That transition’s been huge,” U.S. sitting volleyball coach Bill Hamiter said. “Not only has he accepted that role, but he’s used the strength and athleticism that he has, and that’s why we looked at him and gave him that nod.”
The U.S. finished second at the 2013 ParaVolley Pan American Zonal Championships in October, which qualified them for the 2014 World Championships. That will be their first chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics. The U.S. did not qualify for the 2012 London Paralympics.
“It was a downer for the team,” Stuck said, referring to not making it to London. “We had to take some time off, get our bearings set again, and refocus.
“We have World Championships this summer, and that’s going to be a giant opportunity for us. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to let us see how we’re doing as a team and where we sit in the world.”
When he’s not playing volleyball, Stuck’s attention is on his schooling and his two sons.
In May 2006, WTAE in Pittsburgh did a short feature on Stuck, who is from New Kensington, Pa. The reporter highlights Stuck’s positive attitude.
Listen to his positive perspective around the 58-second mark.
At the end, the reporter says that Stuck is considering taking a government or heating and air conditioning job.
Obviously, he went in another direction.
Source: USA Volleyball
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