US PARALYMPIC CYCLING
My name is Brandon Lyons. I am a 27 year old male residing in Colorado Springs, CO, training full time with the USA Paralympic Cycling team. I am new athlete to the team, as I joined the Paralympic movement in May 2017. As you will learn from my story, I did not always have Olympic or Paralympic aspirations as a young athlete. I didn’t find sport, sport found me.
I am a graduate of Penn State University, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain & Information Systems Management in 2012. Following graduation from Penn State, I accepted a full-time offer with Big 4 accounting firm, Ernst & Young (EY), who is still my employer today. I have had many roles at EY from consultant, workforce management, and now resource management within their Advisory Services practice. My professional career was off to a great start. Learning how to be a successful consultant, networking with various colleagues, and even being recognized as the Supply Chain Rookie of the Year in my first year with the firm. As if my life could not get any better, everything changed within seconds.
On May 24, 2014, while at the beach with friends and co-workers, I sustained a spinal cord injury from diving into shallow water and a result became paralyzed instantly from the chest down. I shattered my T5 and T6 vertebrae, leaving me a complete ASIA A paraplegic.
Following my injury, I was motivated to not let this obstacle derail my early successes. I returned to work just a few months after my injury to continue on in my career. EY has been instrumental in my growth and recovery following my spinal cord injury with the endless support they’ve provided me in my career. Being a member of a large firm such as EY, there have been many opportunities to give back and leverage my experience to help others. I currently sit on our AccessAbilities Steering Committee, a business resource group which aims to provide an accessible environment for employees of differing abilities. As a member of the AccessAbilities Steering Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at the US Business Leadership Conference (USBLN) the past two years, as well as represent the firm at various internal conferences and events.
But it wasn’t until recently, I truly found my purpose in athletics, and handcycling in particular. I’ve recently accepted an opportunity as a resident athlete at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center on the US Paralympic Cycling team. The residence program is structured to commit to a full-time training program with the US Paralympic Cycling team in preparation for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. As a resident athlete, I am a Paralympic hopeful for Tokyo 2020. Ironically enough, I joined the team on May 24, 2017, exactly three years after I sustained my spinal cord injury. I currently train 6 days per week on the bike, roughly 20 hours/week, along with 3 days per week in the gym with a strength and conditioning coach. Competitively, I’ve raced with Team USA at Paralympic Cycling Nationals and a World Cup in Emmen, Netherlands in 2017. 2018 will be a very important season for me to continue in my progression as an athlete as I strive to be rostered on the 2018 National Team.