8 Questions with an athete; Gunnar picture of young man in wheelchair next to boccia ramp. young woman stands next to him assisting him with placing the boccia ball on the ramp

If you’ve been following Bridge II Sports the past few years there is no doubt that you recognize Gunnar.

He is one of our core Boccia team athletes…but so much more!
We wanted to take the chance for you to learn a bit more about this young man in our new segment ‘Eight Questions with an Athlete’.

1.  We know you are an avid Flamethrower Boccia player, what other activities, hobbies & interests are you involved in? 

I participate in a CrossFit Power Hour group in Chapel Hill.  I work with coaches on stretching and standing exercises.
I also take part in different games online – bingo and Scattergories – through Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation.
Before COVID, I took part in in-person classes and activities through Chapel Hill Parks and Rec and I look forward to doing things in person again.
This spring I am taking a music appreciation class.

2.  What are you most looking forward to doing again ‘post-pandemic’?

I like to help people and volunteer. I volunteered at a UNC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation clinic one time with Bridge II Sports staff. I would like to do this and other work that helps people once things open up again. 

3.  What goals do you have your sights set on for the future?

I would like to become more independent and use technology more. I would like help to connect with other people who use technology.

4.  What is something you would like people to know about you that they may not know?

Church is very important to me. I am a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill.
Also, I enjoy traveling and camping with my family. My favorite part of camping is being outside and seeing new places.

Two photos. First: picture is taken from behind a young man sitting in a wheelchair looking out over a vista of rock formations at the Badlands in North Dakota. Second: the same young man sits in wheelchair covered in blankets and smiling at the camera. He is wearing a stocking cap. Behind him is vista fo mountains and a lake with pine trees.

5. Have you always lived in North Carolina?

I was born in Nashville, TN, and I moved to Pinehurst, NC, before my 2nd birthday.
I started coming to UNC to meet with a doctor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an orthopedist. In 2018, I moved to Chapel Hill. 

6.  What are your Boccia goals?

I would like to get better at using the Boccia ramp. I am learning about how the up and down ramp positions and different balls – hard, medium, and soft – affect how the balls roll.
My sister, Halden, is my favorite person to help me when I play Boccia.

7.  Is there anything you would like people to better understand about cerebral palsy?

Sometimes people see my wheelchair first, but at Bridge II Sports this doesn’t happen.

8. What does Bridge II Sports mean to you?

I learned about Bridge II Sports at a Durham Bulls game when I met Mike Rosenkrantz (former BIIS staff member).
My favorite thing about Bridge II Sports is that I get to meet people and play Boccia with different people.