Jesus Villa

I was born in the Dominican Republic with congenital absence of the Tibia. When I was 2 the Badowski's graciously took me in with the help of the 'Healing The Children' non-profit organization. I was amputated and provided with prosthetic legs through Wright&Filippis. When I was about 6years old Mrs. Badowski, who I call mom, saw something in the paper promoting the Sterling Heights Challengers wheelchair basketball team and she thought I should try it. She had to drag me to a practice but after I had tried it, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I instantly fell in love with the game. I soon started making goals for myself and wanting to do more off the court and by the time I started high school, Wheelchair Basketball started becoming a major part of my life. I have been fortunate enough to help my team win 2 national championships (2007, 2013) and being awarded multiple awards. Some of these awards include, being named on various all team award,  the hustle award, M.V.P. award and my favorite and the one that means the most, the sportsmanship award.

I also wrestled on the De La Salle High school team. I placed 3rd individually in the Catholic league tournament and 2nd as a team. This was the first year that the wrestling team won districts which was an amazing feeling to be apart of such a great milestone. Wrestling on a high school team was one of the best feelings to me, It meant so much to be able to be on a team where it was not adaptive to people with disabilities. I felt welcomed and more connected with my school. My teammates helped me learn and were extremely supportive throughout the season. It was a great feeling to know that I had guys to call family.

In the fall I will be attending the University of Illinois on a basketball scholarship. I will start off with a degree in general studies but hope to transfer into engineering or business school.

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2.1.2017 Congratulations to John McSween of the Michigan Rolling Pistons, John just signed his letter of intent to attend the University of Illinois and continue his education and further his wheelchair basketball career. John has been part of The Michigan Rolling Pistons wheelchair basketball team for many years, Michigan Rolling Pistons is a co-ed, youth wheelchair basketball team providing opportunities for athletes ages 6-18 with physical disabilities to participate competitively in basketball. The athletes on this team are unable to participate in most local programs or school teams. Adaptive sports programs allow these athletes to experience the same benefits as their able-bodied peers. Our primary purpose is to provide more opportunity for boys and girls with physical disabilities to participate competitively in a sport. Our team motto is “No Limits.” The benefits of youth sports are well known. Through athletics, children gain increased selfconfidence and self-esteem, increased physical fitness and overall wellness. They also learn responsibility, and develop better communication and interpersonal relationships. Our athletes are unable to participate in most local programs or any of their school sports teams. Adaptive sports programs allow for these athletes to experience the same benefits as their able-bodied peers while also getting to meet and learn from others with the same abilities. It can be a difficult road keeping the teams up and running. With general overall health care costs, the additional costs of team sports and special equipment required to play can at times be a financial burden on families. That’s where Athletes Unlimited comes in to help support these teams and keep the programs running and growing throughout Southeast Michigan. Athletes Unlimited is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 by Jeff S. Pierce, DO, dedicated to providing social, recreational and athletic outlets to people with disabilities. Their guiding philosophy that life is not intended to be a spectator sport. Everyone, regardless of ability, can benefit from participating in sports. It continues to be Athletes Unlimited primary goal to provide these opportunities to as many physically challenged individuals as possible. We firmly believe that everyone should know that individuals with disabilities, regardless of their physical limitations, possess the same basic needs and desires as those without disabilities. Together we can strive to eliminate societal barriers that limit an individual’s potential to achieve. Join us in spreading the mission of helping disabled athletes, because life is not meant to be a spectator sport!