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NWBA Athlete Spotlight: Justyn Newman

03/10/2020, 12:45pm CDT
By Chris Rathje

“I love that every time I get onto the court I to play the game I love with the people that I love.”

Justyn Newman is wrapping up his 10 year Junior Division career with the Nebraska Red Dawgs.  The Gardner, Kansas native final tournament as a Junior Division player will take place in his home state as 48 Junior Division teams come together in Wichita.

Justyn tells me that he loves being able to compete.  Being part of a competitive game is great, but he also enjoys being part of a team and having a second family.  “I love that every time I get onto the court I to play the game I love with the people that I love.”

Justyn has many interests outside of wheelchair basketball.  Two of his interests are school based programs that help others.  Justyn said “I am involved in a program run through my school called T.O.P.S (Teen Offering Peer Support), through T.O.P.S we help kids with special needs that need extra help. We help them with everyday things in life so that they can be successful.  We help them with everyday things in life so that they can be successful.  We help them to get exposure by going out to places in the public so they can practice those communication and people skills.”

Another program that Justyn is involved with is called Link Crew.  Link Crew is a program focused on mentoring incoming freshman so that they have a successful transition into high school.

Justyn takes his  experience of ten years of playing in the Junior Division and 4 years playing with the Adult Division team, the Kansas City Predators forward as goes on to play for the University of Arizona in the College Division.

Justyn concludes this article with gratitude for the opportunities wheelchair basketball has provided him.  “I'd like to share with the people, and the wheelchair basketball community that this amazing sport has given me the opportunity to meet some of my best friends and people around the world.  It has shown me what it's like being a part of a team. It has given me the opportunity to play basketball at a higher level in college.”

Thank you Justyn for allowing me to write this article.

About the Author, Chris Rathje

Rathje started his adaptive athletics career in the third grade as a member of the Windy City Warriors in suburban Chicago. In 1993 Rathje was one of the original members of the prep team the Junior Wheelchair Bulls.

When it was time to play varsity competition Rathje went on to play for the RIC Spalding Bulldogs which was the precursor to the Chicago Skyhawks. Rathje played four years in the College Division at the University of Illinois.

In 2012, Rathje returned to the wheelchair basketball community to coach the Windy City Warriors alongside his college roommate, and current Auburn head coach, Robb Taylor.  

From 2013-2019 Rathje volunteered for the Junior Division as educational liaison, vice president and president of the Junior Division.  He looks forward to sharing stories that will hopefully open doors for student athletes with physical disabilities. 

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