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Crash victim was avid runner who played on U.S. Paralympic Soccer team

09/05/2016 5:28 PM |

Crash Colin Ryan

On Colin Ryan’s Facebook page is a quote from basketball great Michael Jordan about never giving up.

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

It’s sage advice for anyone looking to overcome adversity, but for Mr. Ryan, who died Saturday in a tragic crash on Main Bayview Road in Southold, it’s how he lived his life. 

The 31-year-old from Massapequa, who was deaf and had cerebral palsy, was an accomplished runner who briefly played on the 2002 United States Paralympic Soccer team.

“His disability never seemed to faze him,” said Rick Moss of Austin, Texas, the coach of the 2002 team. “I was in touch with him as recently as last week. It was just a shock. I can’t believe it.”

Josh McKinney of Princeton, West Virginia, was among the players on that team. He recalled Mr. Ryan, then just 17, coming into training camp and working hard to earn his place as the youngest on the team.

“He was a clear runner,” said Mr. McKinney, six years his teammate’s elder and the next youngest player on the team. “He was just a really good kid. He was quiet, but at the camps he always wanted to hang out with the guys.”

1795517_10153911265170061_838635751_n Mr. Ryan represented his country in an international tournament, traveling to Holland that April for a championship the Americans would win.

Mr. Moss said that while soccer was not Mr. Ryan’s natural sport, he gave it his all, and the coach enjoyed hearing about his former player’s running accomplishments in the years that followed. Mr. Ryan, an aspiring teacher, regularly ran long-distance races on Long Island and also ran Paralympic races in the 2000s, according to his obituary.

“He loved his running more than anything,” Mr. Moss said. “He could run forever. He dedicated his life to it. [His death] just blows your mind away. Life is too short.”

Mr. Ryan, a 2004 graduate of Massapequa High School and a 2008 graduate of Mitchell College in Connecticut, is survived by his parents, Mary and Edward, and a brother, Thomas. Visitation will be held at the Massapequa Funeral Home on Merrick Road from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday. A funeral Mass is planned for St. Rose of Lima R.C. Church in Massapequa at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Mr. Ryan was driving a Honda coupe north on Main Bayview Road near the intersection with Williamsburg Drive when he left his lane and struck a southbound SUV driven by Antigone Amengual, 66, of Southold, police said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. His dog, which was riding in the car with him, was also killed. There were no other passengers in either vehicle.

The families of both drivers declined comment Sunday.

A Stony Brook University Hospital spokesperson said Sunday that Ms. Amengual was listed in critical condition.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, according to police.

Top Caption: The spot of the crash, hours after it was cleared Saturday. Second photo: Colin Ryan in his Facebook profile picture.

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