IN 2001, a freak accident changed Luke Chua Tze Kah’s life forever.
Then 17, aspiring arts student fell from multi-storey car park and lost use of his legs.
► Spinal cord injuries left him paralysed.
► Hospitalised for nine months.
► College was off the cards.
“My dreams were crashing as I heard the news from the doctor.”
But surgeons noticed a certain determination in Luke as he went through his rehabilitation.
► Approached him about the possibility of taking up sport.
► Introduced him to wheelchair basketball.
“The only sport I played back then was ice skating. I had zero knowledge in basketball but I gave it a try.”
Luke struggled initially.
► No mean feat getting used to a new sport, particularly in a wheelchair.
Fortunately the term “giving up” was not in his phrasebook.
“I found a purpose, a second chance, a career for me to support my life.”
Over the years he has participated in several international para athlete events overseas.
► Opportunity to learn more about his disability.
“Looking at the different cultures of athletes made me realise there is more I can achieve despite my differences. I finally accepted myself.”
Now 34, Luke is gearing up for sixth Asean Para Games appearance and a shot at gold.
● This article appeared in yesterday’s Malay Mail Afternoon E-paper
Athletes competing in wheelchair basketball have impairment affecting legs or feet.
Players either have amputations or paraplegia, paralysis of the legs and lower body.
Not all players are wheelchair users in daily life.
► Impaired muscle power
► Impaired passive range of movement
► Limb deficiency
► Leg length difference