Playing wheelchair basketball has improved Mark’s health and social participation

As a result of an injury sustained at work in 2002, Mark was diagnosed with Paraplegia Incomplete L1.

The 52-year-old Maryborough man has no functional use of his lower limbs and uses a wheelchair to assist with mobility.

Mark has always been an active person and enjoyed sports. However, since his injury he had limited opportunity to engage in sporting activities.

The nature of Mark’s injury meant he had injured his L1 vertebra, the topmost section of his lumbar (lower) spine. Injuries to this part of the spine can affect hip flexion, cause paraplegia, loss of bowel/bladder control, and/or numbness in the legs.

Additionally, incomplete paraplegia is an incomplete injury to the spinal cord – meaning that the injury had not completely severed the spinal cord. This can mean there can be some degree of sensation and/or movement control in the affected regions of the body.

Mark discussed the positive changes in his life since receiving regular services of a support worker and his participation in Wheelchair Basketball, which was made possible with the help of APM Communities and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“I was depressed and socially isolated. Wheelchair Basketball has bought a lot of positives into my life through meeting new friends, maintaining my fitness and improving my physical strength and health,” said Mark.

Mark joined his local wheelchair basketball team, the Fraser Coasters in early 2020 and since then has been regularly training and playing.

At the end of 2020, he won the ‘Most Improved Male Player’ award and hopes to be able to referee at the Olympics in the future.

As one of the older members of the team, he plays an important role as a mentor and role model for other people with disability involved in wheelchair basketball as well as the wider community.

Up until now Mark has been using a borrowed basketball wheelchair which is not ideally suited to his size or posture. This not only makes the sport more difficult but increases his risk of injury.

Thanks to funding from the NDIS, Mark will now receive a custom-made, light weight basketball wheelchair that will allow him to train and play safely to the best of his ability. The basketball wheelchair is expected to be delivered in early 2022.

APM Communities Local Area Coordinator Karen Hodges said, “Playing wheelchair basketball is an important part of Mark’s social life which helps him to connect with his community and his friends.”

“Since the work accident I have managed to get my life back and become independent again”.


As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.