Sailor has sights on Paralympic Games in Rio

- No one loves the wind more than Kevin Holmberg. The 22-year-old has sailed all his life and dreamed of sailing in the Olympics. 

It's a dream that nearly died when Kevin was hit by a truck. He was in a coma, in the hospital for three months. He couldn't walk, talk, or eat. But, it was his love of sailing that lead him back to his Olympic dreams.

It hasn't been easy.

"Brain injury is one of the slowest healing wounds you can ever get," offered Kevin's mother, Jennifer Holmberg.

It happened in an instant.  One minute he was a healthy 14-year-old sailing champion riding his bike to practice; the next minute he was fighting for his life at Tampa General Hospital. He was there for three months.

Friends decided to decorate his hospital room with sailing scenes. Then, they took it further.

"We put him in a life jacket," recalled Jennifer. "We took him out and it was the first time Kevin's face started to make a smile."

"When I first started with this boat, I couldn't move anything, really," Kevin recalled. "Now I've gotten to where I'm more agile and can move quicker for all the lines."

He has to handle more than a dozen lines and foot pedals to sail his 2.4-meter sailboat, getting ready for the Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.

His coach, Ian Lineberger, says Kevin was frustrated at first, but is now on course to be among the best. "He has an opportunity to go to Rio De Janeiro to represent his country in the Paralympic Games. It's a pretty incredible achievement if we can get it done."

His family believes sailing has already paid off in healing Kevin's brain.

"I want to believe he can continue to heal his whole life," Jennifer continued.

Kevin has come back far enough to continue his dream.

"My dream is to make the Olympics," he insisted.

Friends and family have set up a fund to help pay for an upcoming trip to France for a preliminary race and then, they hope, his trip to the Paralympics. If you would like to donate to help send Kevin to France and hopefully Rio, visit https://www.gofundme.com/kevinsparalympics.

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