Campus news

A home for future wheelchair basketball stars

Wheelchair basketball game

UTSC is home to the national academy for Wheelchair Basketball Canada.

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.”