Thanks to a community effort, NWBL player Steven Elliot is ready to chase his dream of representing Australia with his custom-made sporting wheelchair.
Thanks to a community effort, NWBL player Steven Elliot is ready to chase his dream of representing Australia with his custom-made sporting wheelchair. Renee Pilcher

Steven set to sizzle on court

STEVEN Elliot loves the rough and tumble sport of wheelchair basketball and thanks to a community effort, the Gympie teenager now has the new wheels to really tear up the court.

Three years ago, Steven contracted a rare medical condition called transverse myelitis which left the athletic youngster with limited movement from the waist down.

Instead of the condition laying him low, Steven aimed high, taking up wheelchair basketball and setting his sights on a clear goal - to play for Australia.

Despite his old sporting wheelchair impeding his progress, Steven still managed a gruelling daily training regimen.

In January this year, he was invited to train with the men's under-23 team at the Australian Institute of Sport - his eye firmly on a regular starting position with the National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL) team, the RSL Spinning Bullets.

At the start of the 2011 season, the 16-year-old was named as an official player and has already notched up four matches at the top level of competition.

Every Thursday, he and his mum Carolyn Frampton drive from their Southside home to Brisbane so Steven can train with his team.

And every Saturday morning they head off once more to Brisbane or the Gold Coast so Steven can compete with his team.

Last week, thanks to community support, Steven took delivery of his new "wicked wheels".

When the $10,000 custom-built Hurricane basketball chair arrived on his doorstep, Steven was over the moon. Light, swift and ultra-manoeuvrable - the chair fitted him like a glove.

"He's gone from a Mini to a Ferrari," Mrs Frampton chuckled.

"It has been an amazing community effort."

"It's a rough sport but playing in a chair like this just makes all the difference.

"He looks like a National League player in it."

Steven, who dislocated his hip in a game, due largely to the unsuitability of his out-grown chair, summed up its replacement.

"Playing in this one is like heaven," the quiet achiever said.

Adam Harper, communications manager with Montrose Access said purchasing the chair was a combined effort.

The German manufacturer offered the wheelchair at a reduced price; David Fagan from Sunshine Orthopaedic Services offered to cover half the remaining cost; Gympie South Lions Club donated $2500 and various Gympie residents have also donated money.

As well, the Empire Hotel has been contributing $50 a week for Steven's travelling expenses and Gympie Foam and Rubber always supply products to Steven free of charge.

Mr Harper said Steven was a shining example to the community.

"His determination and positive outlook are nothing short of inspirational," he said.

"We're so pleased to have been able to help and support Steven and his family as he chases his dream."

Gympie Times


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