From August 24th to September 5th (2021), the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will be aired across the globe, allowing athletes with disabilities to compete in the biggest sporting events in the world. These athletes must have at least one of the following disabilities: impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, muscle tension, uncoordinated movement, involuntary movements, vision impairment, or intellectual impairment (Olympics.com). The events are organized in such a way to allow the Paralympians to compete to their highest skill, endurance, mental focus, and fitness.
Matt Scott is a Paralympian in the sport of wheelchair basketball for Team USA. His early life was spent looking up to legendary basketball players, including Lebron James and Michael Jordan; despite not being able-bodied like his role models, Matt took it into his own hands to become great at the sport like the professionals are.
Matt has a birth defect called spina bifida, which causes a baby’s spinal cord to not close properly while in the womb. For Matt, this disability resulted in him not being able to walk, leaving the rest of his life to be spent in a wheelchair.
He hesitantly joined a wheelchair basketball team at age fourteen after spending his earlier years playing with his able-bodied friends. However, he was instantly able to classify it as “his calling.” Matt has seen several drawbacks in his career, including a four-month-long event of septic shock and organ failure. He explains that his biggest fear in this event was not if he would be able to survive and lead a normal life, but rather if he would no longer be able to play basketball.
After this traumatic and life-threatening event, Matt picked up a basketball for the first time in four months and made the first basket he shot.
Matt is a gold medalist and four-time Paralympian. Along with many other incredible athletes, he will be seen in the Paralympics at the end of this month!
Tokyo 2020. “Paralympic Games Classification.” Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Tokyo
Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2020.
BBC Authors. “Incredible Athletes: The Inspiring Stories of Paralympic Hopefuls.” BBC, 2019. Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2020.