A home for future wheelchair basketball stars
Canada’s next generation of wheelchair basketball gold medallists is being trained here at UTSC.
In October, Wheelchair Basketball Canada opened a national academy on campus, to merge high-performance training with academic opportunities for its developing athletes. Some take classes at UTSC; others at nearby Centennial College.
Gabrielle Roberts-Winter, a second- year UTSC psychology student, says the athletes couldn’t train together five days a week until now. “UTSC is providing an environment where we can really work to improve our skills at a high level.”
Mitch Bossaer, a first-year student, came from Saskatoon. “At home, I could never train at this level and go to school at the same time,” he says. “My goal is to have a degree and Paralympic medals.”
Corin Metzger, a psychology major from the Kitchener area, has seen her game improve. “It’s really good to be able to train every day, and I’m absolutely happy to be working toward a degree,” she says.
The National Academy will soon be home to 24 athletes who are about four years away from competing at the Paralympic level. It’s a worldwide first for wheelchair basketball programs, says Mike Frogley, head coach, who has won Paralympic gold as both an athlete and a coach.
Frogley credits everyone involved—UTSC and the governmental and sports organizations who support the academy. “It’s a great demonstration of partnership,” he says. “They’ve all gotten together to provide various resources so athletes can maximize their potential.”