Carrara based athlete Matt McShane might be one of the youngest athletes on the Rollers squad, but what he lacks in experience, he makes up in determination.
Since making his debut for Australia in 2014, Matt has made a name for himself as one of the best up-and-coming 1.5 classed players in the world. Winning bronze at the Kidukushi Cup in Japan, Matt says his international debut was everything he expected to be, and it gave him a good insight into the life of an athlete – something he continues to reflect upon.
Matt was 18-years-old when he acquired transverse myelitis, a neurological condition which caused swelling around his spinal cord, leaving him paraplegic. After working all day as an automotive apprentice, he was on the way home when he found himself unable to move. A sports mad teenager with a love for AFL, surfing and skating, Matt spent nine months in hospital and rehabilitation and credits his family and friends for getting him through what was one of the toughest moments of his life.
Eager to get back into sport at a recreational level, Matt’s interest in wheelchair basketball sparked up during a demonstration while he was undergoing rehabilitation.
Motivated by the competition and the fast-pace nature of the sport, it was only two months after being discharged from hospital that he played his first game at a local competition on the Gold Coast. Soon after, he joined the Brisbane Spinning Bullets in the NWBL and went on to make the Australian Rollers team for the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2018 World Championships.
Matt says entering the Rollers squad following their 2014 World Championships win was both daunting and incredibly motivating. While he had only been competing for four years, he was thrilled to be able to compete with and learn from the best players in the world.