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Jake takes home bronze

Jake takes home bronze

I would like to introduce to my son Jake. He is 21 years old and has Spina Bifida. He is studying Linguistics and Japanese at Griffith University (although deferred this semester to concentrate on his training). Jake recently completed in the Under 23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Toronto Canada, where the Aussie Spinners won the Bronze Medal.

As you can imagine it hasn’t been the easiest road to get Jake to this standard of basketball.

Jake had numerous major operations before the age of 10 and only ever wanted to play team sports. Just after his 10th birthday we introduced him to wheelchair basketball, and although he had another operation just after and needed three months off to recover, he still made it to his first Australian Junior Nationals at the age of 11.

Playing sport has been the best thing we have ever done for Jake; it has improved his self-esteem, confidence and changed the way he sees his disability. He’s made friends, met mentors, Paralympians and, most importantly, found a reason for living.

The road to Toronto has been a long one with a lot more operations in his late teenage years, but when Jake won the player of the match in Australia’s game against Italy, we both think it was the culmination of all the hard work and determination he possesses.

Basketball has also been fantastic for my other children too. My next son down has high functioning autism, and although he cannot spend a lot of time at the courts, always volunteers to help along with his sister at the wheelchair basketball tournament that is held here on the Sunshine Coast.

Having children with disabilities hasn’t always been easy, but it sure does ensure you grow as a parent.

-Sharon Fulwood, Mooloolah Valley.

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