Brad Snyder

Sport: Swimming

U.S. Paralympic Swimmer and retired U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder earned two gold medals and a silver medal for Team USA at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Snyder won his first gold medal on Sept. 7, 2012, the exact one-year anniversary of the IED explosion in Afghanistan that cost him his vision.
While serving in Afghanistan in 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Brad became permanently blinded after stepping on an improvised explosion device while out on patrol. The explosion took both his eyes, shattered his eardrum, and lacerated his face.

Brad spent three weeks in intensive care and another five weeks in recovery. He recounts, “When you’re kind of patching your life back together and figuring out how to adjust to blindness, you’re not good at anything. Walking was a challenge. Cooking’s a challenge. Dressing and color matching is a challenge. There are all these things that used to be no problem that are all of a sudden really challenging. I had a hard time getting the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, because I can’t see it.”
Brad recently competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where he brought home four medals for Team USA and broke a 30-year-old world record in the 100m freestyle.

Brad works closely with The Hartford, a Founding Partner of U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, helping to positively change public attitudes and perceptions about disability.
For more information about Brad’s accomplishments, visit Team USA’s website.
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Photo by Joe Kusumoto