Wheelchair rugby player targets gold at Parapan Am Games

Cody Caldwell is training hard with hopes of winning gold for Canada on home turf at the Parapan Am Games in 2015 in Toronto.
Colby Caldwell dreams of a PanAm Games medal. 2:28

When the Pan Am Games wrap up and the focus shifts to the Parapan Am Games, Cody Caldwell will be ready.

Wheelchair rugby is making its debut at this year's Games and Caldwell, a Peterborough, Ont., native and a member of Team Canada's rugby team, is determined to grab gold on home turf.

Caldwell broke his neck in a diving accident five years ago. Just one week into his rehab, he saw a documentary about wheelchair rugby called Murderball and knew the sport was something he wanted to try.

Caldwell was a hockey and soccer player prior to his injury and the sport — which is full contact — had an obvious appeal.

"I guess just my athletic background, playing hockey and everything growing up, it just caught my eye right away … everything about the sport just caught me and pulled me in," he said.

Wheelchair rugby athletes use special chairs with armour, not unlike a tank's, to protect them against hits, which are common.

Once the Parapan Am Games wrap up, Caldwell has his sights set on competing for Team Canada at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. 

"I don't have an Olympic medal, so hopefully one day I can get one," he said.

Click on the video link above to watch Marivel Taruc's story about a hard-nosed athlete keen to play for his country.