Three students from the University of Alabama, a Sullivan Foundation partner school, represented the U.S. and earned bronze medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics earlier this month as members of the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team.
The summer games were held Aug. 24-Sept. 5 of this year after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. They were still called the 2020 Paralympics.
Team USA members of the wheelchair basketball team from UA included:
- Lindsey Zurbrugg, a senior from Portland, Ore. Zurbrugg suffered a back injury while attending a basketball camp. The injury exacerbated a medical condition—a tethered spinal cord—that she didn’t know she had at the time and left her paralyzed. It didn’t vanquish her competitive spirit, though. “I have been on Team USA since 2017, and I’ve grown confident in my abilities as an athlete,” she said.
- Bailey Moody, a sophomore from Johns Creek, Ga. When Moody was 10, she was diagnosed with stage 4 osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that required the amputation of her leg. Moody said training for the Paralympics is “a fulltime job in and of itself. I am doing something that is furthering my ability to improve. Whether that is eating right, doing mental preparation or watching film, much of my time is spent working towards my sport. This is especially true around the time of the Paralympics.”
- Abby Bauleke, a sophomore from Savage, Mich. (pictured at top). The first-time Paralympian was also a member of the team that won the 2019 Under-25 World Championship in women’s wheelchair basketball.
Related: Auburn University to lead STEM education initiative for students with disabilities
Additionally, Joy Haizelden, an Alabama graduate student from Southampton, England, competed for her home country in women’s wheelchair basketball on Team Great Britain. “There really is no feeling quite like competing at the Paralympics Games,” she said. “It’s the pinnacle of any athlete’s career. It’s always an honor to put the Great Britain vest on, so when the opportunity to represent my country arises, it fills me with pride. It symbolizes all the hard work I have put in to be where I am today.”
Two other UA athletes competed in the Tokyo Paralympics, including Shelby Baron, a Team USA women’s wheelchair tennis athlete from Honolulu, and Ignacio Oretaga, a men’s wheelchair basketball player from Spain who competed for Team Spain. Additionally, Darrell Hargreaves, a 17-year employee of UA, refereed some wheelchair basketball games.
UA’s Alabama Adapted Athletics sponsors competitive college sports in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. Emerging sports include adapted rowing and wheelchair track.
This article has been edited and updated from the original version appearing on the University of Alabama website.