No Limits To Basketball
By, Senait Gebregiorgis
Martinez Johnson is a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in Political Science. It is his second year on the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team here at Illinois. As a child he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy disease. The disease affected his muscle strength and growth affecting his ability to walk. However, this is not to say that he can’t walk because although he utilizes his wheelchair for support at times when traveling to class for example, he can still be able to take a break from the wheelchair and walk without its support.
In high school he was heartbroken after not making it to the wheelchair basketball team. It allowed him to keep trying, practicing and never giving up until he had the chance to try out for the team at U of I. After making it to the team, the sport and experience has impacted his life drastically. He made new friends, he didn’t think of his disability as a limit to his life, he has had the chance to play with rising national Olympic athletes and he overall has been financially supported to attend the University. His hopes for the team this year is a National championship and he hopes to someday continue wheelchair basketball at a professional level.
Johnson faced many obstacles and challenges on the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team last season after losing the National championships. The team just had a new coach come in so it was really hard adjusting to a new game strategy and coaching. This season he feel more confident and ready to help lead the team to a championship win. With his teammates, anything can be possible and with their hard-work and dedication they can have the potential for a win. For more information on the Illinois Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team check out their website here. Watch the video on Martinez Johnson in Wheelchair Basketball here.