April 12-15, 2018 in Louisville, KY
At 16 years old, Jake Williams was hit by a car while out riding his bike in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He suffered a spinal cord injury that left him in a wheelchair. He explains the physical and mental pain he had after the accident was the hardest experience of his entire life. Things began to turn around when Williams picked up the sport of wheelchair basketball and quickly got addicted to the adrenaline and the rush of playing.
“It was the number one thing that helped me get out of my negative mindset. It was hard and a lot of work and a lot of practice hours but meeting kids my age and sharing similar experiences and situations helped me recover and they were key,” said Williams.
Williams played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater after a friend who played at Wisconsin gave him the coach’s number and encouraged him to try out. He decided to go all the way and in 2013 he won gold at the America’s Cup Qualifier in Bogota, Colombia. The next year, he returned to UW-Whitewater and helped win the NWBA intercollegiate National Championships.
Fast forward two years, and Williams had reached the apex of his career. Selected as a part of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic team. Team USA had dominating performances for the eight-game stretch of the Rio Games. Williams provided a spark of offense with a three-pointer that gave them a clutching lead for the gold-medal victory over Spain.
This was William’s first trip to the Paralympics and no better way to finish. This was a taste that left a strong urge for more with Williams. He looks to train through the next four years and return to the top of the podium once again in 2020.
Two-time U.S. Paralympian Ian Lynch hurt his back at eight years old from injuries he sustained in a car accident. It was his therapist Susan Hagel, who was a former wheelchair basketball star, who introduced him to the sport. He began playing at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Center. Once he entered high school he competed in track and field. He notes doing track made him more comfortable with the movements of the chair and it helped with his overall cardio. Lynch grew up in Minnesota before attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
At the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater he studied Elementary Education and he now works for Skool Aid. He helps the company develop and run after school programs and teaches wheelchair basketball for the program. He also partners with Dick’s Sporting Goods and has previously done web design but notes his one true love is being a part of a team and playing professionally.
In 2010, Lynch headed overseas to play three seasons for SSD Santa Lucia Sport in Rome. In 2012, Lynch earned a spot on his first U.S. Paralympic team where they won Bronze in London. To his credit, Lynch has a 2014 IWBF World Championships silver medal, and two ParaPan Am Games appearances in 2007 and 2011. He was injured in 2015 and unable to join the team for the ParaPan Am Games in Toronto.
In 2016, after recovering from injury, Lynch secured his spot for the 2016 Paralympic Games. His long term goal of winning a Paralympic gold medal came true after undefeated play of 8-0 in Rio.
“My focus for so long had been getting to Rio and then of course to win gold at Rio. I didn’t think much past that. I improved my skills, did the right things everyday and it all came together for us,” said Lynch.
Giving back to the sport has always been a part of his passion as well. With so much experience, work and success under his belt he wants to share that with young players. He is a volunteer coach for the Cincinnati Dragons and has also coached Top soccer. His drive for the sport never fails and that has pushed him to continue into his professional career with sights now on Tokyo 2020.
2016 U.S. Paralympic gold medalist Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, never could have dreamed her life would take the course it did. In 2013, Dunkin was experiencing chronic pain in her legs that later stole her ability to walk without the use of a cane. She was diagnosed with Fiber Neuropathy Autoimmune Dysautonomia, a condition that results from damage to nerves that assist in organ system functioning. She spent the better half of her senior year in a wheelchair. However, she did not allow the pain to overcome her athletic abilities. She won a state championship in shot put that year and three years later she made her first U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball team.
In 2016, at just 20-years-old, Dunkin went on to help Team USA win gold in Rio. She currently plays at the University of Texas at Arlington and will be heading into her senior year for the Mavericks. UTA reigns at the top with the most Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. Dunkin is studying Kinesiology with a minor in Disability Studies. She feels right at home at UTA with their winning culture and elite style of play.
‘‘UTA has such a great culture. Everyone loves to represent Team USA and is very supportive of all of us on the national team. I am grateful to have campus support and teammates that motivate me; it’s very humbling and very exciting for all that we are doing,” added Dunkin.
One of the 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp took place at UTA where Dunkin was able to show the women the Maverick’s facilities and lifestyle. Being a part of Team USA for Dunkin has changed her life. She notes it has been one of the most humbling experiences and she enjoys all of her teammates and simply being out on the court with them. Dunkin has big plans for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
At the age of 13, Jared Arambula was an avid member of the Turnstone Flyers. The Turnstone Adaptive Sports Program was one step in Arambula’s journey to becoming a Paralympic athlete and gold medalist. He is one of just 10 gold-level participants in the Paralympic Sport Club Excellence Program in the United States, and it all started at Turnstone Flyers. Turnstone Flyers is a club which helps people with disabilities live an active lifestyle and participate in sports. He was born with spina bifida and confined to a wheelchair.
Moving out of the Junior program, Arambula played at the University of Alabama where he helped Alabama to a national championship as co-captain of the 2013 team. His senior year he averaged a triple-double (more than 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists per game). He was awarded the Performance Award three different times throughout his collegiate career. After college, he took his career overseas to play for an Italian league considered one of the best leagues in the world. It was in Europe that he realized his potential to make the U.S. Men’s National Team, and wanted to be viewed as a true contender for a Rio Paralympic gold medal. Goal for gold was a success.
After his assistance in the 2015 Parapan American Games, where the United States won gold, Arambula solidified his position on Team USA. At the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Arambula, and the rest of Team USA, went on to win gold with an impressive undefeated record of 8-0.
“It’s obviously been an uphill battle forever,” Arambula said, “As a child, I just wanted to compete with my friends. Being on the Paralympic team really solidified it for me. It hit me that we train at the same level as everyone else and we are seen as true athletes,” added Arambula.
Arambula has his sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and another gold-medal finish for Team USA.
Significant local media outlets aired through Tennessee when native Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, was named to the 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team. Earlier this year, she made headlines for helping the Lady Movin’ Mavs win the NWBA Intercollegiate National Championships. She is also best known for her continued help, participation and education toward wheelchair basketball camps both in Tennessee and Texas.
A birth defect left Wood partially paralyzed, but she knew she had athletic strength and began her wheelchair basketball career in high school. After graduation, she started her college career at the University of Memphis. Wood later attended a summer wheelchair basketball camp at the powerhouse, University of Texas-Arlington, and fell in love with the school and program so much that she decided to transfer after her freshmen year – now a senior at UTA majoring in Psychology.
A part of a National Championship team at UTA, Wood feels humbled and confidently prepared to be representing Team USA. In 2012, she watched the U.S. Women’s National Team prepare for London and noted it was weird being an outsider then and being a contender now.
“Playing with the best in the world you get a little chip on your shoulder that you deserve to be here. Yet, there is a lot of good pressure, there is no room to make a mistake and that puts you in check and makes you thankful and humbled for the opportunity,” said Wood.
Making her first national team, she has nothing but space and time to grow and perfect her game. She is taking her career one day at a time and is thankful for every experience is given. She hopes to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and vie for gold.
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is excited to announce that the NWBA Team Guide Book is now available online for download. The Team Guide Book is a great resource for teams to use that outlines team operations, and highlights important information for competing in the NWBA. The book will help teams and administrators stay on track with dates, forms and other areas of compliance for teams.
The Team Guide Book details the various requirements of being a NWBA registered team. The Team Guide Book includes the following:
The Team Guide Book includes links that allow members to access to all necessary forms. These links include access to team forms, individual forms, classification forms and individual registration.
The NWBA is excited to include a NWBA Scoring Guide in the Team Guide Book allowing teams to input scores on its team webpages and NWBA website. The Team Guide Book provides an overview of scoring process, options to score competition, step-by-step instructions and a user guide for troubleshooting support.
The Team Guide Book is an evergreen document that the NWBA will continue to add information and templates. Please make sure to visit the NWBA Resource Center at www.nwba.org/resourcecenter to download the updated version of the Team Guide Book.
For questions, please contact Brandon McBeain, Director of Membership Services and Programs, at email@example.com.
Message from U.S Women's Head Coach Trooper Johnson on 2017 NWBA Women's Development Camps. Please share with others.http://www.nwba.org/developmentcamp #rollwithusPosted by National Wheelchair Basketball Association on Sunday, August 6, 2017