RIO DE JANEIRO -- A few months before U.S. table tennis player Tahl Leibovitz left his home in Queens, N.Y., for the Rio Paralympic Games, his wife, Dawn, heard a bang late at night. They didnt identify the source of the noise until their neighbor told them her air conditioner had fallen onto their car.The neighbor was low on money but wanted to pay for the damage eventually. Leibovitz refused the offer.He understands what its like to be in a dark place, his wife said.Amid a childhood scarred by an uneasy relationship with his father and long periods of homelessness, Leibovitz found table tennis. A three-time Paralympic medalist, the 41-year-old competed in his fifth games in Rio, losing in the quarterfinals. He said he hopes to continue playing another eight years, pointing toward a possible Los Angeles 2024 Games.I would define my self-value and self-esteem, he said, through winning and through playing table tennis.He often competes in able-bodied tournaments but meets the classification standards for the Paralympics because he has osteochondroma, which causes benign bone tumors that can limit movement.Previously a substance abuse counselor, Leibovitz works at New York Families for Autistic Children.I tell my patients that although they believe they are not OK, in reality they are actually OK, he said. Their circumstances may not be.When Leibovitz was a young teenager, he broke a basement window at his house. Tensions over that incident with his father began an eight-year period of on and off homelessness, he said.In addition to staying away from home, he stayed away from school. Sixth grade was the last year he completed.The Boys & Girls Club in Queens opened at 3 p.m. on weekdays. There, he could play table tennis until the club closed around 9 p.m. He slept on subway trains at night.I dont know if (returning home) was really an option for me at that time, Leibovitz said.He and his twin sister, Maja, said their father, Ernest, physically abused them. His father, when reached for this story, said he did not consider his treatment of his children abuse.I wasnt hitting him because I was getting mad and upset. I was hitting him because I was trying to make a point, Leibovitzs father said, adding that his son was a problematic teenager.His mother, who was divorced from his father, died in 2006. His father said he wasnt aware of his sons perpetual homelessness. His son told him he was living with friends.Leibovitz and his father now see each other about once a month, they both said, living just over a mile apart.He feels bad about me being homeless for that many years, but he said it made me very tough and who I am, Leibovitz said.Leibovitz played in his first table tennis tournament at the Junior Olympic trials when he was 15. At a tournament in New Jersey in 1995, an international referee told him he might classify for Paralympic sport because of his condition.The next year, Leibovitz won gold and bronze at the Atlanta Paralympics while still homeless. Soon after, he moved in with his twin sister.Leibovitz, who also won bronze at the 2004 Games, is self-coached. Angie Bengtsson, the U.S. table tennis head coach in Rio, said they communicate over the phone to discuss his training. At training camps and tournaments, Bengtsson said Leibovitz helps younger players.They have a lot of respect for him, Bengtsson said. A lot of them want to be just like him.In addition to his athletic success, Leibovitz earned his GED and said he has bachelors and masters degrees from Queens College and a second masters in social work from NYU.Pieces of his past show in his outlook on his sport.Whether I win or lose, Im OK, Leibovitz said. Im not going to say it doesnt matter, but it doesnt change who I am.In 2002, Leibovitz used an inheritance from his grandfather to buy a three-bedroom condo, which he said is too big. Its a problem, he said, he never thought he would have.Im sure theres a lot of it that he wishes he didnt have to go through, his wife said. Even though it was all bad that happened, it will be applied to his life to help others. Thats what hes doing with it now.---Emily Giambalvo is a journalism student at the University of Georgia. Penn State and Georgia are partnering with The Associated Press to supplement coverage of the 2016 Paralympics. Matthew Stafford Jersey . 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Midfielder Mitch Wallis has broken both bones in his left leg, the result of a tackle gone wrong during Western Bulldogs 15-point AFL loss to St Kilda.Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge confirmed after the game that Wallis fractured both his tibia and fibula in a sickening moment at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.Beveridge also revealed forward Jack Redpath tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the game and will require a knee reconstruction.It is a devastating night for many reasons, Beveridge said.Theres a lot of emotion in that room down there.Wallis screamed in agony as he was stretched off in the fourth quarter, having suffered the horrific injury while being tackled by Shane Savage.Its obviously a very serious injury, Beveridge said, likening the mood in the changeroom to that when inspirational captain Bob Murphy ruptured his ACL earlier in the year.In all football clubs the players are tight. Ours is no different.dddddddddddd Theyre really hurting.Theyre really feeling it for Mitch and his family and also for Red and his family.The Bulldogs have had a terrible run with injuries this season, headlined by Murphys serious setback in round three.Veteran defender Dale Morris tweaked his hamstring in Saturday nights defeat but Beveridge was upbeat about him being fit to face Geelong on Friday night.Its going to be a challenge (focusing on football and preparing to face the Cats), Beveridge said.But we just had a discussion around that and what the right steps are.We havent got a lot of time to process it. I dont think the players will be ready tomorrow or Monday.By the end of Tuesday when we walk out of the building at the club, weve got to be ready to move on and meet the challenges ahead. ' ' '