After being hurt in a major car accident in August of 1990, I thought my days of playing basketball were over. I had a spinal cord injury that convinced the Doctors I wouldn’t ever walk again. My spinal cord wasn’t severed and I started getting some movement and feeling back again but playing ball was out of the question. I was introduced to Mike Schlappi and the team back in the early 90’s. I went to my first practice with a full body shell around my torso fresh out of the hospital. I was amazed these guys were hitting 3 point shots sitting down in a wheelchair and I saw a competition level that surprised me.
After serving a mission for the LDS church, I reconnected with the Utah Wheelin’ Jazz. We traveled around the country to play in very competitive games. It really kept me in shape and I made lifelong friends traveling with guys that have amazing attitudes despite their disabilities.
Trying to balance work and family life I took a few years off and resumed about two years ago to find the team taking on the highest rated teams in all of wheelchair basketball and winning to boot. Last year we returned to the Final Four for the second year in a row despite some team setbacks that many people thought would keep us from attaining that level again.
It has been a fantastic opportunity to put on small exhibitions for other disabled kids and adults and see their eyes light up realizing that they can compete on such a high level. We have been featured at Utah Jazz Halftime Shows and on the news many times.
Come out and see us play. The Wheelin’ Jazz host an annual tournament. Admission is free and we love to see fans.
I currently work for Sierra West Jewelers in Orem UT, and reside there with my wife and 3 kids.