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Pictured is Courtney Mould, a 2022 Paralympic hopeful from Totowa. Credits: Sadie Saccoccie
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Pictured is Courtney Mould, a 2022 Paralympic hopeful from Totowa. Credits: Sadie Saccoccie
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Pictured is Courtney Mould, a 2022 Paralympic hopeful from Totowa. Credits: Sadie Saccoccie
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Totowa Resident Sets Sights To Become A Paralympian In 2022

TOTOWA, NJ – One borough resident will stop at nothing to achieve her goals, despite an injury, and is setting out as a medal hopeful for the 2022 Paralympic Games, to be held in Beijing, China.

Courtney Mould, a 25-year-old graduate of Passaic Valley High School's class of 2011, suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2014, which initially left her unable to walk or talk. She has since recovered slowly thanks to several years of physical therapy. Although her speech and mobility continues to improve, she spent much of her time worrying that she would not take part in sports and other physical activities that she loves, such as snowboarding and her goal to climbing Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.

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As a youngster, she received her first snowboard at the age of 11 and taught herself to snowboard by the age of 13.

"Courtney has always been very athletic and wants so much to participate again in the sports that she loves," said her mother Kathy. "She taught herself how to snowboard, which was one of her favorite things to do."

According to Kathy, Courtney is still improving from what was an anoxic brain injury, also known as cerebral hypoxia or hypoxic-anoxic injury (HAI), a serious, life-threatening injury. 

"She sustained a contrecoup, which occurs on the wide opposite the area that was hit, acquiring injuries affecting both sides of her brain, causing cerebral contusions," said her mother Kathy. The injury occurred in her bedroom.

As a youngster, she received her first snowboard at the age of 11 and taught herself to snowboard by the age of 13.

"It's all from brain injury related fom her accident and she has no recollection of it," she added.

Courtney was admitted to the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Saddle Brook for two months and then was an outpatient for about a half a year. She that required her to put some of her goals on hold temporarily.

"I never finished TCNJ to become a nurse and I became worried that I would not be able to have a quality of life," she explained. "But I really wanted to snowboard again."

Courtney now attends the County College of Morris and is studying exercise science. She hopes to become a physical therapist.

During Courtney's recovery, she and Kathy were given information on "adaptive" sports, also known as disabled or parasports, where sports are played by a person with a disability and typically have coaches with them so they are never doing it alone.

Initially, Courtney noticed that many adaptive organizations were geared for children and not adults.

"My neurologist told me about New England Disabled Sports (NEDS) and it was the best thing I had heard about," she said.

A chapter of Disabled Sports USA, NEDS is a non-profit organization, providing adaptive sports instruction to students of all ages and abilities. It provides opportunities for adults and children with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation and educational programs, according to its website. The organization is headquartered at Look Mountain Ski Resort in Lincoln, N.H. and at the Bretton Ski Resort at Omni Mount Washington Resort. Through generous donations of individuals, corporations and foundations, approximately 500 student-athletes living with disabilities are able to enjoy adaptive sports year-round.

One of the activities Courtney took part in was a fundraiser for NEDS that included  the "Sunrise Ascent" hike up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire last August. A 7.6 mile summit attempt on the mountain's auto road, it's the highest peak in the northeastern U.S., standing at 6,288 feet. It is the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River, characterized by erratic weather.

Courtney began participating in several activities with the organization, which included getting back on a snowboard, which was not easy at first, but slowly she got her stride back.

She then took part in the Adaptive Sports Foundation, based in Windham, N.Y., and was accepted into the race team and she is being trained to get her over to nationals.

"That was her goal. She wanted her snowboard back," said Kathy. 

After attending several other fundraisers the past year, Courtney's board began to get weathered from use.

"It was her old snowboard and it sustained a crack," said Kathy, adding that Scott Lago, the 2004 world quarterpipe champion and winner of a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, actually made her a new snowboard and presented it to her at the end of the Sunrise Ascent hike.

Additionally, Courtney received the Brian Russell Award for her recent achievements at the NEDS winter challenge banquet night last March. The award recognizes student-athletes who participate in adaptive sports. Courtney took part in the challenge with her own team consisting of all female snow boarders. 

"One of the team's race coaches said that Courtney had what it takes to go far," added Kathy. "In her last two races up at Wyndham Mountain, she got a silver and gold medal. We were also approached by Cathy Sarubbi. Her daughter Caitlin Sarubbi is a visual impaired paralympian skier and they want to sponsor Courtney. After seeing Courtney snowboard, Cathy said that she felt Courtney needed to go to the Paralympics. A lot of good things are happening."

The Mould family's biggest challenge is being able to meet the cost of training and competing. A GoFundMe page has recently been established.

"It costs a lot of money and we're basically trying to get the word out there," Kathy explained. "She's very excited about the prospects of going to Beijing in 2022, as her father and I are. Courtney snowboards better than she walks. She's getting to meet a lot of other paralympians, too."

The next stop for Courtney is a training program at the Hartford Ski Spectacular at Breckinridge, Colo. in December. 

"There's more training for paralympians there and there is a paralympics sports club that invited her to be on their race team," Kathy noted. "Many trainers are from the national level such as para-snowboarders Mike Shea, Nicole Roundy and Evan Strong. However, the race team fee ranges from $1,650 to $2,000 so we started crowdfunding to get the word out to get donations to meet her goals.We're very proud of her."

The link for the Courtney's GoFundMe page is www.gofundme.com/help-parasnowboarder-race-train.

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