Saskatoon athlete gets second chance with sitting volleyball



Julie Kozun youngest member of national team

David Shield – CBC News

March 08, 2018

julie kozun
Julie Kozun is the youngest member of Canada’s national women’s sitting volleyball team. (Matthew Garand/CBC News)

Julie Kozun says her first regret after losing her leg was that she would never be able to play volleyball again.

A regular on her high school volleyball court, Kozun was only 15 years old when her leg was amputated after an accident with a riding lawnmower.

Now, three years later, she’s the youngest member of the national women’s sitting volleyball team.

“It’s really hard and really fast-paced,” she said. “It was basically like learning a whole new sport.”

The basic rules of sitting volleyball are fairly similar to regular volleyball. There are six players per side, and players bump, set and spike to get the ball over the net.

Saskatoon para-athlete gets second chance at sport with sitting volleyball 0:37

However, players can’t lift their posterior from the floor, and have to scoot along the ground to get to the ball.

“You’re not standing or jumping anymore,” she said. “You have to learn how to approach. You have to learn how to bump.”

These days, she’s busy training, getting ready for an exhibition game in Denver next week and the championships in the Netherlands in July.

julie kozun
Julie Kozun says making the transition to sitting volleyball was difficult but rewarding. (Trena Forden Eskra/Supplied)

“Our goal is to beat Brazil,” she said. “Last October in Montreal, we actually took two sets off them, and that was a big accomplishment for us.”

Kozun found out about sitting volleyball after a friend told her about the sport. Once the national team found out about her previous experience, the rest was history.

Her advice to other para-athletes is to never give up.

“There are always opportunities out there,” she said. “You just have to look for them.”

With files from Victoria Dinh, Saskatoon Morning