Officials started the Challenged Sports Championship, and got sanctioned so participants could use the event to qualify for national events. Now, every May, athletes flood to Charleston to participate in events in swimming, archery, shooting, track, weight lifting and golf.
Gagnon said that the competition element is a crucial part of a person's experience with a sport.
"When you have that competitive instinct it doesn't change just because you've had an injury or a disability," he said. "And it probably comes out more because you've just had the biggest challenge of your life. It probably kicks in even more. And when you have that, neat things happen."
Athletes have broken or set as many as 73 records at the Charleston competition.
Gagnon isn't sure how many people have participated in the event over the years - he tried counting once recently and "stopped counting files at 169, and that was several years back." He estimates that each year there are around 60 participants.
Relatively few of them are children like Bryson, though, even though children of all ages can participate and Gagnon is interested in getting children involved.
Right now, he's lobbying state education officials to clarify the policies that govern disabled kids' participation in school sports. Kids are already allowed to play with their able-bodied peers, but Gagnon envisions a policy that would separate kids by "functional class" based on their disability.
"So if a kid with a spinal injury is competing in four track events . . . unless there's another team with a kid in that functional class he would get more points toward the championship for his team."
The idea is to offer an incentive to have a child with a disability on your team.
"When that happens, coaches are going to catch on real quick, and instead of shunning some of the kids who are physically challenged, they'll be recruiting them," he said. "And you're going to have kids thinking, 'Wow this is going to help us win a state championship, these kids are great' . . . Just the social and self-esteem element of that would be a win."
Gagnon isn't sure when this could become a reality, but says he hopes it is before Bryson gets to high school.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.