At 11-months old Steve Serio never had a plan to become a three-time U.S. Paralympian and bronze medalist in wheelchair basketball. He was just like every other kid. He just had a spinal-cord injury, but that never even held this bright eyed kid back until he was turned down to play varsity basketball at the whimsical age of 15. Even that barrier didn’t hold back Serio from getting in the game and making memories with his friends. He joined a wheelchair basketball team five minutes from his hometown of Westbury, New York and the rest was history. Some now might call him the “Field General.”
Serio went on to play at the University of Illinois and later spent five years playing professionally in Germany for RSV Lahn-Dill. When in Europe, Serio found his favorite place to be Hamburg, Germany, a city on canals with beautiful shopping, bars and friendly people. Serio is one of those friendly people who comes from a large Italian family and a close knit home. He gives all the credit of who he has become to his parents.
“My family is my rock, I wouldn’t be able to do anything I do without them and their unconditional support,” said Serio.
He is looking forward to spending more time with his parents, who are retiring soon, as he recently moved back in with them and will be calling New York home again after the Rio Paralympics. He loves his home state so much he doesn’t so much as miss a New York Yankees baseball game. Being a long time baseball fan along with playing hand soccer and snow football are just a few of Serio’s additional athletic talents.
Serio is an inspiring gentleman, that hopes to one day inspire young people and others all over the world with his encouraging words of wisdom and insight. He encourages young players to keep growing and get better everyday not only as an athlete but as a person too. He truly never set out to be the best, that part just came naturally. Serio was always more focused on having fun, enjoying the journey, meeting amazing people and maybe picking up a medal throughout the journey of wheelchair basketball.
“It’s okay to not have a direction, time moves by too fast to make quick decisions, that’s why I slow down and enjoy each day, each moment and each journey,” said Serio.
And as for basketball, he is excited for Rio and hopes the U.S. Team returns home with a gold medal, but he is more looking forward to the memories he will cherish for a lifetime.
Looking past the Rio Games he is going to take some time away from the hardwoods and be a cheese-head at a Green Bay Packer’s football game, finding his own New York condo and attending a wedding back in Germany. Serio is your full package U.S. Paralympic athlete and that is why his teammates selected him as co-captain for the Paralympic Games team. He’s calm, collected and inspired just as a field general should be.
Steve's photo here was voted "best baby picture" in his senior year yearbook.