The Clarke University Mackin-Mailander series will present Mark Zupan, the star of the film “Murderball,” on Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. in the Robert and Ruth Kehl Center.Tickets are $5 for general admission; free for the Clarke community. They are available by calling (563)584-8642.In 1993, Zupan was paralyzed in a car accident at the age of 18. After a night of drinking, he hopped into the back of a friend’s pickup truck. The friend, who had also been drinking, was involved in an accident and Zupan was thrown from the back of the truck, over a fence and into a canal. He hung on to a branch for 14 hours before he was rescued. Zupan suffered a broken neck and was unable to walk again.
He began playing “quad rugby” at Georgia Tech University. In 2004 he led Team USA to a bronze medal at the Paralympics in Athens, Greece, and was named U.S. Quad Rugby Association Athlete of the Year. In 2008 in Beijing he helped the U.S. Paralympics team take home the gold. Zupan attempts to destroy stereotypes, sharing his story and struggles in his book “Gimp.”
“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” Zupan said of his accident in an interview with ESPN. “I wouldn’t trade this for anything. There wouldn’t be a film. I wouldn’t have met people. I wouldn’t have been to the places I’ve been and seen things. I wouldn’t have a medal from the Paralympics. I might not be with my girlfriend. There’s a reason this thing happened.”
Murderball is the critically acclaimed winner of a 2005 Sundance Film Festival award. The plot of the movie centers on a rivalry between two of the strongest teams of 2004 Paralympic Games and their quest to overcome all the hurdles. The film gives a message of hope, determination, courage and faith.