Discovery Eagles lift patients' spirits

The stars of the Discovery Eagles wheelchair basketball team paid a visit to disabled patients at the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital recently. The Discovery Eagles, the reigning SuperSport Wheelchair Basketball Series champions, shared their tales of courage and hope with the patients.

Amongst the visiting players was 21- year-old Malcolm Chinian. He was only 12-years-old when a stray bullet lodged in his spinal cord as he was on his way to visit a neighbour in Katlehong. The freak accident left him paralysed and dependent on a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

"I never cried when the doctor delivered the bad news to my mother, but I was confused and spent a lot of time alone, reflecting on my life. I knew that God had a plan for me going forward," said Malcolm.

Since the accident and rehabilitation Malcolm has lead the SA under-23 wheelchair basketball team and is one of the rising stars in the Discovery Eagles team. His dream is to be a part of the side that represents South Africa at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008.

Commenting on the visit by the players, Rich Mkhondo, Discovery's Deputy General Manager, Marketing Services, said he hoped that the players would motivate the patients to look forward to life after their rehabilitation. "People with disabilities have so many obstacles to overcome on a daily basis, and they do so with courage. The Discovery Eagles are a shining example that life should not end in a wheelchair, but that it can also be a very exciting beginning," he said.

Patients voiced keen interest in taking up wheelchair basketball and Discovery pledged to look for ways to help them get to facilities and receive coaching in the future.

Marcus Retief and Malcolm Chinian with patients at the Netcare Rehabilitation Centre.

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