Laurie Wood was a photographer for the Navy for 18 years. Later the Virginia Beach native became a sheriff’s deputy. While leading a training exercise for recruits in 2012, Wood tragically fell from a roof. Wood suffered a spinal cord injury and broke her back. She lost the use of her legs.
The fall didn’t keep Wood down for long. According to ABC 7 news, the Navy veteran became a sled hockey player and months later was playing for the Virginia Beach Hockey Club.
“Sled hockey pretty much saved my life,” Wood said to NBC4’s Aimee Cho. “It kind of let me know that I can still do the things that I used to do before my injury. I just do it a different way now.”
Saturday, Wood attended Capitals practice and was giving out USA Warrior branded hats and shirts to fans. Later, Wood got an emotional surprise herself.
SURPRISE FOR A DISABLED VETERAN: Navy vet Laurie Wood has been a @Capitals fan for decades. When she went to watch their practice today, she never imagined the players would come out to meet her – and give her a brand new wheelchair @nbcwashington @CapitalsPR pic.twitter.com/06mHJhrL24
— Aimee Cho (@AimeeCho4) November 10, 2019
As Wood was doing interviews with local TV stations, Capitals defensemen John Carlson and Nick Jensen rolled a brand new, custom-fitted wheelchair beside Wood.
“Oh sh*t,” Wood reacted.
“Hi Laurie,” John Carlson said.
“Hi,” Laurie said.
Carlson and Jensen explained that this was her new ride.
“That’s SO COOL!” Wood said excitedly.
“What do we think?” Carlson asked.
“I love it. It fits so much better than my other one,” Wood said. “It’s awesome. Thank you so much!”
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@capitals players John Carlson and Nick Jensen surprised @usnavy veteran Laurie Wood with a new wheelchair courtesy of @permobil following today’s morning skate @medstarcapitalsiceplex. For more, watch @nbcwashington at 6 and 11 p.m.
A post shared by Capitals PR (@capitalspr) on
The surprise was not only emotional for Wood, but it was also meaningful for Jensen and Carlson.
“Being able to meet Laurie, who sacrificed a lot for our country and our community, it’s an amazing moment to be able to share with her,” Jensen said.
Despite being paraplegic, Wood has continued to have success, stay active, and live a normal life – as much as one can with an injury like this. Her world revolves around hockey. She plays sled hockey for the USA Warriors, the Virginia Beach Hockey Club Destroyers, and the USA Women’s Sledge Hockey team for the last two years. Wood won gold in Ontario at the International Women’s Cup.
Wood’s goal is “just live my life. Some people might take that for granted but it’s definitely a big deal for somebody like me that has these challenges every day.”
Headline photo: @CapitalsPR
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