Wheelchair Basketball Game while Disabled

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Megan Blunk is 24 years old and she is from Gig Harbor, Washington. She plays wheelchair basketball, she is in the wheelchair due to an accident that happened in her past. This particular accident is what led her to get into wheelchair basketball and become a Paralympic Athlete. Up until 2008, Megan played many sports, such as, soccer, fastpitch, track, volleyball, and basketball.

Megan was involved in a motorcycle accident and left her paralyzed and it caused her to have to give up all of those sports she loved so much.

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She found out about wheelchair basketball not long after the incident happened, and she decided wheelchair basketball was a perfect match for her. She started small, by just playing locally on a rec team, and then it soon escalated into playing competitively on a college team and then to compete on Team USA. Megan enjoys what she does and is happy she is a part of the opportunity she was given.

Megan’s accident left her paralyzed from the waist down, which resulted in them being in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. The rider of the motorcycle completely lost control and left Megan to break 18 bones in her body as well as being paralyzed. During the same year, two of her close friends committed suicide, which worsened her depression. Megan has had depression for mostly her entire life, making these experiences drastically harder for her. The condition she is in is not treatable, she had many surgeries to attempt to correct her injuries.

After the accident, she faced challenges when adjusting to her new lifestyle. When it first happened, Megan explains, “I think I was in complete shock, things don’t really hit me until a few days later when I can really realize what has happened. It just felt really good.” (Manley, 2016), she did not know how to react to this situation. Megan wanted to share something on her social media about the accident but felt she could not because social media was a place for positive news, and this was the complete opposite of that.

She did not want to do this to get reactions from people and for them to feel sympathy for her, but to show others the amount of pain and difficult time she was in now and then compare it to a later time. She wanted them to document her success and watch her take something awful and turn it into something positive over time. Her journey of getting to where she is now has been full of ups and downs. When she first started playing wheelchair basketball with a rec team she did not enjoy it. Blunk states:

My wheelchair was total crap. I hated playing, I hated everything, and I didn’t want to be there. In between each session, I would go to my room and cry my eyes out. The coaches don’t want to know you’re having a hard time. It was hard to have so many negative thoughts, always wanting to die. (Manley 2016).

These negative thoughts did not stop her though, she would always remember she needed to keep going. In order to help her get past this she started taking anti-depressants and started going to see a therapist. Megan is getting her master’s degree in social work because she wants to prove to people it does get better, with her depression she keeps moving forward and she wants others to see that too. She had many negatives thrown in her direction, but she was able to find the strength in every situation and turn it into something positive, every single time.

Wheelchair basketball was created in the 1940s by mostly injured men from the war that were not ready to give up the game. Mostly all of the rules are the same as regular basketball, such as, the court dimensions, basket height, playing time, scoring, and the three-point line is in the same location. There are five players from each team on the court at once, the player will take up to two pushes while the ball stays resting in place, this is followed by dribbling the ball. The players are allowed to repeat the motion as often as they need to.

A player can receive a travel violation when they push more than two times without dribbling between their pushes. A player can receive a foul when there is contact with another player, in this case, the wheelchair is a part of them. Therefore, any contact with another player regarding them or their wheelchair can result in a foul. In order to participate in wheelchair basketball, you must qualify for one or more of the listed impairment types. Impairment types include, impaired muscle power, athetosis, impaired passive range of movement, hypertonia, limb deficiency, ataxia, and leg length difference.

After seeing Blunk play wheelchair basketball, it was easy to see how well she adapted to the circumstances of the game. In a regular game of basketball, players are concerned on being fast on their feet, faking passes, etc., but in wheelchair basketball, you have to learn to be quick in your chair. It is quite obvious Megan has picked up techniques in how to succeed in the game, she was extremely fast in turning her chair around to get away from other players and then able to pass the ball or shoot, all while moving her chair.

A major adaption she probably had to get used to was using her arms more than her legs, which was probably not easy. Wheelchair basketball requires much more quickness and arm strength than regular basketball does. Megan was able to score multiple points for her team and it was noticeable in her effort of sharing the ball to incorporate her other teammates, rather than being a ball hog the entire game. It is clear that Megan has had to make sacrifices when deciding to play wheelchair basketball, but she has been able to succeed in these adjustments and is used to the changes that had to be made.

Megan Blunk has helped me to understand individuals with disabilities, helps to impact public perception of individuals with disabilities, and helped with my life as a future healthcare practitioner. When I think of individuals who have disabilities, my first thought is usually that they were born with that disability or have had it since they were very young. After reading this story, it helped with my understanding of how individuals with disabilities have to learn to cope with their disabilities, Megan for example, had to deal with losing her legs as a senior in high school.

When you start reading into these stories it helps put it in perspective of your own life, even thinking about going through something so traumatic is hard, let alone actually having to deal with it is a whole different story. The games can help to impact the public perception of individuals with disabilities by opening their eyes too. The public is able to see that those with disabilities are the same as us, they enjoy sports in the same way we do. The only difference is some modifications have to be made for them to participate and enjoy their lives to the fullest. The story of Megan Blunk helped my future self as well, her story will help me think about their feelings and how their disability has impacted their entire life more than I would prior to learning more about the Paralympics. Everybody has a life and a story that comes with it, whether they have a disability or not.

Overall, Megan Blunk is an inspiration to so many people and her story should be shared with everyone. It is so amazing how caring she is about the people around her after facing a drastic situation in her life. It goes to show that even in the worst-case scenarios we should never give up, like Megan says, it will always get better.

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Wheelchair basketball game while disabled. (2021, Dec 01). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/wheelchair-basketball-game-while-disabled/