With the 2019 Canada Winter Games just days away, a trio of exceptional Nova Scotia athletes will compete at the games together.
Siblings Jordan, Justin and Vanessa Stephens are on the wheelchair basketball team. Jordan has cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair, but his brother and sister are both able-bodied. This will be the first time all three will play together.
“It’s quite an experience because I’m in a chair and I get to play with my brother and sister at the same level, not at a different level than some sports, so it’s quite fun,” says Jordan.
This will be the twins’ second and final time at the Canada Games, but they are excited about sharing the experience together.
“This time I don’t only have Jordan, I have Vanessa right beside me, too, so that’s quite an experience to play with two on the same team,” says Justin.
The Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League is an inclusive sport that allows able-bodied athletes and those with disabilities to compete together.
WATCH: Team Nova Scotia prepares for 2019 Canada Winter Games
Vanessa Stephens says she’s proud to share the honour of representing her province with her brothers.
“A lot of people don’t realize that able-bodied can play. So every time I say I play wheelchair basketball, people say, ‘Why don’t you play stand up? You’re able-bodied,'” Vanessa said, “and I say, ‘Yeah, but wheelchair basketball is for able-bodied, as well — that’s the whole reason they have the classifications and the point system,’ so that’s it’s completely equal for everyone to be able to play.”
Their coach, Ross Sampson, says it’s not every day you see so many siblings going to the Games to compete together.
“I feel proud of them, they work very hard. They’re dedicated, they show up night in and night out,” Sampson said. “You can tell that they’re having a lot of fun and enjoying it so it’s good.”
When not playing or practicing, the three visit schools and put on demonstration games to spread the word about wheelchair basketball.
The Canada Games kick off on Friday and continue through to March 3.
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