GIMP: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand, You Can Fold -or You Can Play

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Harper Collins, Oct 17, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 276 pages
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Mark Zupan was a college soccer star, out drinking one night with friends. Tired from the game and from a few too many beers, he decided to take a nap in the back of his best friend's pickup truck. Still asleep when the vehicle started and drove away, he was suddenly jolted awake as the truck crashed. Mark was thrown into a canal and was stuck in frigid water, barely clinging to a tree branch, for fourteen hours. When he was finally rescued, Mark discovered the terrible truth—he'd broken his neck and would most likely be a quadriplegic, facing life in a wheelchair, with only limited use of his four limbs.

At first Mark's only goal was to walk again, and when that proved impossible, he fell into the depths of despair and retreated from the world and from the people closest to him, increasingly bitter and furious with himself. But through love, friendship, and an introduction to a new sport, Mark realized that he could live a more-than-full life in a chair and has gone on to create an existence that's truly exceptional. Now a Paralympic athlete (playing quad rubgy, aka "murderball") who's starred in a movie, Mark explains in his memoir that, in a way, getting hurt was the best thing that could ever have happened to him—and that despite people's prejudices, a guy in a chair still gets to have sex with his girlfriend, party with his friends, and even crowd-surf at Pearl Jam shows. Inspiring, defiant, and revealing, GIMP will appeal not only to fans of Murderball but also to anyone ready to be motivated by a touching, captivating, and heartfelt story about triumphing over adversity.


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GIMP: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand, You Can Fold -or You Can Play

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Paralympic medal winner Zupan's hope in writing this book is that "when people read this book, they will be reminded that you can stage a comeback even when you think you've lost everything." However ... Read full review

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I heard Jim Rome interview Mark Zupan on the radio, found it interesting, and then promptly forgot about it. A few months later, I was going through one of life's downs when the interview popped into my head. I picked up the book and read it. I passed it onto my sister to read as well.
It certainly would not be considered great literature. But for someone who is not into self-help books, it certainly proved to be inspirational. Maybe because he does not package himself as inspirational or as someone who can help you. He simply tells his story. And that is enough.
It is a fairly quick read. He tells you the story of how he became quadriplegic and how he rebuilt his life. And the difficulties in betweens those two pillars of his life. Highly recommended.


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About the author (2006)

Mark Zupan is a Paralympic medal winner and the star of the MTV/ThinkFilm documentary Murderball. He lives in Austin.

Tim Swanson is the West Coast bureau chief for Premiere magazine. He lives in Los Angeles.

Bibliographic information