|Raymond Kusch Wins Disabled Athlete of the Year Award|
|The award recognizes outstanding perseverance and dedication by a disabled hockey athlete|
|COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Raymond Kusch (Clio, Mich.) has been named the Disabled Athlete of the Year for 2019-20 it was announced by USA Hockey.The annual award recognizes the outstanding perseverance and dedication by a disabled hockey player through demonstrating the ability to overcome obstacles in the pursuit of excellence both on and off the ice.|
A former Sargent in the United States Army, Kusch served two deployments in both Iraq andAfghanistan. In 2012, he lost his left foot and suffered other serious injuries in an explosion caused by an IED pressure plate.
After a long and difficult rehabilitation process, Kusch relearned how to walk and eventually run again after his injury. When learning how to skate, Kusch was initially discouraged of how painful it was on his amputation, but that didn’t stop him from ultimately falling in love with the sport.
Kusch started playing hockey in September of 2017 and now is involved in three different disabled hockey disciplines, including standing amputee, warrior and deaf/hard of hearing. His involvement in the disabled hockey community has been immeasurable, representing the U.S.in international competition in both standing amputee and deaf/hard of hearing events.
In addition to starting his own adult league team, Kusch competed against able-bodied athletes with the University of Michigan–Flint’s ACHA Division III team and still practices with the team after graduating in December of 2019.Kusch’s passion for the game has led him to dedicate his efforts to multiple Learn to Play programs, helping spearhead Learn to Skate programs specifically for veterans and disabled athletes.