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'Why not?': Former Broncos participant has sights set on Paralympic wheelchair basketball

“I stayed so fixated on hockey my whole life, I by no means actually acquired to embrace different sports activities on the highest stage and now that I’ve this chance, I believe, ‘effectively why not?”‘

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CALGARY — Ryan Straschnitzki’s Paralympic goals haven’t fizzled, however his path to the worldwide stage may take him from the ice to the hardwood.

The 24-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., was paralyzed from the chest down in 2018 when a semi-trailer ran a cease signal and barrelled into the trail of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus in rural Saskatchewan.

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Sixteen individuals died and 13 have been significantly injured.

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For the reason that crash, Straschnitzki has performed on Alberta’s para hockey group and has been coaching with the Paralympic growth group.

Nevertheless, his Paralympic hockey targets have hit a bump within the street.

“Previously conversations I’ve had with administration inside that program, it’s not trying good, however all I can do is practice and work exhausting,” he mentioned in an interview.

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Straschnitzki mentioned he’s hoping to get an invite to check out for Canada’s Paralympic hockey group in September.

“However that’s fully out of my management,” he mentioned.

What’s in his management is embracing different sports activities, together with wheelchair basketball.

“I stayed so fixated on hockey my whole life, I by no means actually acquired to embrace different sports activities on the highest stage and now that I’ve this chance, I believe, ‘effectively why not?”‘

In consequence, Straschnitzki plans to affix a wheelchair basketball league this winter and hopefully make it to the Paralympics.

“I’ve to actually get into practices and video games so I can work on the abilities a little bit bit,” Straschnitzki mentioned whereas he was capturing hoops Thursday at Vecova, a company that gives providers and advocacy for individuals with disabilities. He was just lately named its first ambassador.

Straschnitzki hopes to make it to the event stage of the Canadian wheelchair basketball Paralympic group after which symbolize the nation earlier than the 2028 Video games.

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He additionally accomplished an accessibility certification course with the Rick Hansen Basis earlier this yr a couple of nationwide ranking system that measures the bodily entry of buildings and different websites.

Hansen, who created the inspiration, is finest referred to as the Man In Movement for his wheelchair journey around the globe within the Nineteen Eighties to attract consideration to individuals with disabilities and discover a treatment for paralysis.

Straschnitzki mentioned he realizes he has strengths and weaknesses on the court docket at this level.

“I’m not unhealthy. I can wheel round. I’m in a chair on a regular basis, so I perceive wheel, transfer,” he mentioned.

“I’ve simply set to work on my shot a little bit bit and discover ways to play the system.”

Straschnitzki, who additionally took up para golf a yr in the past, is internet hosting his personal charity golf event in August to make sure adaptive sports activities can be found to anybody who desires to take part.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed July 31, 2023.

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