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Liam Frobisher: “Find Diamonds in the Coal”

By Chris Rathje, 01/28/20, 11:15AM CST


“My favorite diamond of all is wheelchair basketball.”

Liam Frobisher is a 15-year-old who is in the 10th grade. He is in his third year of participation in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association with the Portland Junior Wheelblazers.

While researching this article, Liam’s mother, Sarah, provided a transcript of a speech that Liam gave to the Dream Factory, an organization that provided him assistance. 

As Liam was first adapting to his new life as a wheelchair user, he met a man named Bill. Bill is a cancer survivor who was helping to modify Liam’s home to make it more accessible. Bill told Liam that sometimes life’s situations feel like coal, but Bill challenged Liam to find the diamonds.  

Throughout his speech, Liam listed the many diamonds in his life including many specific ways that his family and friends have helped during the last few years as he has transitioned to living life as a wheelchair user. He concluded his sentiments to the Dream Factory audience with this:

“My favorite diamond of all: wheelchair basketball.” 

When asked about his NWBA experience this is how Liam replied:

“I was paralyzed in November 2016 and joined the Jr. Wheelblazers in January 2017. I went to the first practice just two or three weeks after coming home from the hospital. This is my third official season with the team. I started on the prep team in January 2017 since it was all so new. The next season 2017-2018 I was rostered on Prep and Varsity, but mainly played Varsity.  Because I started playing so close to the prep cut off age I had to learn the sport quickly.” 

Liam also loves music.  So I asked him if he felt music and wheelchair basketball were connected:

“For me, the biggest connection between music and basketball is the practice and dedication required to improve. My lungs get a good workout in both basketball and band," Liam said.   

This is what Liam responded when I asked him about his favorite music:

"I like to listen to Hip-Hop and Rap to get me motivated. One of my favorite artists is Tupac. His music is so real and it reminds me to look for the positive in life, and use the negative as fuel to get through rough times."

When asked what Liam liked most about wheelchair basketball:

“I enjoy the teamwork and the competition.”

Such a straightforward and great answer that gets to the essence of why so many pour so much into the NWBA.  Thank you Liam and Sarah for allowing us to put the spotlight on them this month.  Liam is another example of the diverse different ways that children and young adults become part of the NWBA.  Thank you Liam for your perspective and story!