TEISHA Shadwell has endured an extraordinarily difficult 12 months, but is flourishing in basketball because of it.
She had an amazing start to life on court – winning titles with her Knox Raiders, a Grand Final MVP and also making the Knox 14.1 team that won both the Melb Utd. VJBL Victorian Championship and the Australian Under 14 Club Championships.
Shadwell, 14, from Rowville, played through the Club Championships injured though, but there was a steep consequence to that decision. Scans revealed she had played the whole week, including the grand final, with a broken hand and breaks in both feet.
While her hand healed well, unfortunately the devastating breaks included damage to the notoriously difficult to heal navicular bone… in both feet.
These injuries left her unable to play able-bodied basketball anymore without risk of permanent disability.
But that’s not to say she can’t play basketball completely.
To donate to Teisha Shadwell’s GoFundMe campaign to purchase an new playing wheelchair click here.
She was guided towards wheelchair basketball and she has flourished in her short career since.
In January a come-and-try wheelchair basketball day opened her eyes and most importantly – brought basketball back into Shadwell’s life.
Within six weeks she was playing in a domestic league and training with two national teams and the Australian Gliders team.
She was named in Kilsyth’s 2017 Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL) and went from strength to strength where she was awarded the WNWBL’s 2017 best new talent award.
She was approached by the Australian coach during the season and has been asked to begin training in Canberra in September at the Australian Institute of Sport in preparation for the 2019 Under-25s World Championships.
“I’m glad it happened – it’s all been worth it. It’s really fun and something different – it’s a lot more challenging and I think it was good to try and do something different,” Shadwell said. “It’s still basketball – which is good – but it’s just a different way of doing it.
“I knew nothing about wheelchair basketball until I got injured and wanted to keep playing – and then I found it.
“It was a bit hard doing that as I’m used to using my legs for my endurance and not my arms,” Shadwell said. “so trying to catch up with everyone took a bit of practice but I’m getting there.”
But what she’s loved most – even compared against her amazing progression and successes so far – has been the support of the wheelchair basketball community and everyone’s willingness to show her the ropes and get her into the sport.
“I think it’s more the community – everyone is welcoming and encouraging and getting around everyone to get involved,” Shadwell said. “Team mates and coaches have been really supportive of me.
“Pretty good – I got taught heaps and it was really good to get thrown in the deep and see how it all works – everything was a highlight, the whole experience and traveling and being part of a team now.”
All this for a girl who has been using a wheelchair for less than a year and playing wheelchair basketball competitively for only six months. To say she is a natural is the greatest understatement on record.
When you talk about a natural fit, Teisha has found it in wheelchair basketball, but what isn’t a natural fit is the wheelchair she’s currently using.
As she’s new to the sport she has been using a borrowed wheelchair from Basketball Victoria’s inclusion department. It has been a step in the right direction towards her wheelchair basketball dreams… but it can’t take her all the way there.
The borrowed wheelchair is heavy and ill-fitting for Shadwell’s needs and has caused a lot of bruises and inevitably – a lack of finesse that the sport demands.
Her coaches have said she needs a custom-made chair to allow her to reach her full potential and continue to chase those goals… with that chair costing between $9,000-$10,000.
“This chair is a bit too big for me and a chair fitting is an important part of the sport – to be able to go faster, move faster,” Shadwell said. “I get a lot of bruises moving side to side and when I fall out I can’t get back in at the moment.”
It’s an incredible amount of money, which is why the family has started a GoFundMe page to support Teisha’s ambitions and push her further towards those dreams.
If you would like to support Teisha, click here to visit their GoFundMe page.
While injury has sadly closed the door on Teisha’s able bodied basketball dream, through wheelchair basketball her sporting hopes are still open. She can still fulfil that basketball dream, just a different one than she expected.