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Man missing half of his body competing in his third Paralympics

"Being at the Paralympic Games is just such an honor to represent your country and play at the highest level."

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Team USA Paralympic athlete Roybal with his partner Menecis Garriga (Adam Gray via SWNS)

By Emma Dunn and Lucy Moses via Real Fix

A man born missing the bottom half of his body is beginning his THIRD Paralympics games today (March 4).

Brody Roybal, 23, refused to let his disability hold him back and learned to play hockey, dance and cook - all without legs.

He found he had a great talent for ice hockey - which he plays sitting on a sled - and won gold at the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic games, with the USA team.

Supported by his biggest fan, childhood sweetheart Menecis Garriga, 24, he's now in China, ready to compete in the 2022 games.

They chatted to Real Fix – which features real people telling extraordinary stories – before he headed off to the game.

Brody from Chicago, USA, said: "They always do a great job with the Paralympics, making it easier for us with disabilities and then just putting on a good show for everyone.

"Sled hockey allows me to escape from the day-to-day life of being disabled and just be free out on the ice.

"Menecis is always there to support me.

"We were so young when we met we were able to grow up together and really see how well we worked together.

"My disability was kind of the last thing on our mind because we’ve always put our focus into our things in order to build a strong relationship.

"Love always finds a way"

Brody Roybal and Menecis Garriga (Via Real Fix)
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Brody and Menecis met in reception class, and he asked her to prom in high school.

Their friendship quickly blossomed into a romance, but when Brody moved to Arizona, USA, to attend college, their relationship was put on hold.

A year later, he returned home and the couple realized they couldn't be apart. They made their relationship official in August 2018.

Brody, who now lives with Menecis in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is part of the American men's Paralympic hockey team.

He said: "Being at the Paralympic Games is just such an honor to represent your country and play at the highest level.

"I love the feeling of playing- it feels like you're flying.

"When I was younger I did feel a little bit different but my parents pushed me to try new things and be active and get out and experience the world."

Menecis, a university student, said: “A lot of the time people are scared of dating someone with a disability because it’s very new and they don’t know what it’s going to be like.

“But a lot of other things come before a disability.

"When I look at Brody I don't see half a person.

"What he's lacking in his body, he more than makes up for in his personality.

"He reminds me every day that there is so much more to life than that one moment that you are falling or drowning in.

"When I see Brody I just see hope...and butterflies!

"Brody really is my best friend...Brody will try anything.

"Like if I want to climb a mountain, we’re going to climb a mountain.

"In the household, we just learned to adapt.

"I get the stuff from the top cabinet and he’ll get the stuff from the bottom cabinet."

The couple, who share their relationship online, has learned to deal with comments they get from their thousands of followers.

"People always ask how Brody goes to the toilet or how we 'do it','' Menecis said.

"At first, comments on social media would impact our relationship, because no one prepares you for this 180 that your life does when you put yourself out there.

"But now it has made us stronger."

Brody will compete on March 5 against Canada. To watch the mini-documentary the pair made with Real Fix, visit HERE

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