By Anyssa Bohanan
Central Oregon Daily
Walter Jones has used a wheelchair for most of his life.
“I was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect, so I had forearm crutches for a while and then about seven years ago I lost my right leg to an infection in the bone.” Walter Jones said. “I started using my wheelchair more permanently around 10th grade.”
But Walter hasn’t let the disability slow him down.
He’s been playing basketball, as well as other sports, on and off for the last 15 years.
“I was doing track and field with a team out of Seattle for wheelchair racing and they convinced me to play my senior year of high school with them and I’ve been playing ever since,” he said.
Today, he plays for the Portland Wheel Blazers.
“I’ve played on and off with them, I’m not exactly sure, but I started playing with them again about three years ago I believe and I’ve been playing with them ever since,” he said.
Walter regularly travels from Prineville to Portland for games and tournaments and says the travel expenses and finding time to practice are the most difficult parts of the job.
But his hard work on the court, and in his community as an advocate for the growth of adaptive sports, hasn’t gone unnoticed.
He was recently nominated for the Adult Adaptive Athlete of the Year Award through Adaptive Sports Northwest.
On Tuesday, he found out he’d won.
“It’s pretty exciting, I’m honored,” he said.
Walter’s favorite part of playing for the Wheel Blazers?
“The camaraderie, being on a team and getting to play basketball.”