There are countless inspiring examples of astonishing humans all around the world who are thriving and surviving in the face of adversity. One such example is the Singaporean wheelchair basketball star Choo Poh Choon. Choo was paralyzed from the waist down after a horrendous accident, but he didn’t allow this disaster to ruin his life. Instead, he has adapted to living with a disability in an exciting and active way. Thanks to his long hands, he decided to give wheelchair basketball a try and has never looked back. Soon, he will be representing his country in the prestigious biannual event, the ASEAN Para Games. These games allow people with disabilities from various countries in Southeast Asia to come together and compete for glory.
Choo wasn’t born with his condition. He was actually involved in army training exercises in Brunei at the age of 21, when he began to struggle with feverish symptoms. Naturally, an air ambulance was sent to his aid. The helicopter arrived to collect him, but the moments that followed would shape the rest of his life forever. As the chopper began to descend towards the feverish Choo, its rotor blades came into contact with some trees, severing several branches in the process. These branches then fell down to the ground and struck his spine. Had they fallen in a slightly different way, the branches would surely have killed him.
The incident left Choo paralyzed below the waist, but he remains optimistic about his condition. He believes that he is lucky to have survived such an incident and has refused to let his life go downhill. An avid athlete and sports fan, Choo’s new life in a wheelchair was naturally very difficult in the early days. It took him a while to adjust, but he began to realize that he was capable of many different things. He learned that he could drive. This encouraged him to practice for his driving license. It was at this time that he met someone who would set him on the path to greatness-- the head of the wheelchair basketball team for a local welfare association.
Choo was invited to try out for the team due to his athletic build and exceptionally long hands. He decided he had nothing to lose and gave wheelchair basketball a try. He has since proven to be such an exceptionally-gifted player that he is the captain of his nation, and he is developing an image as a true sporting icon for people with disabilities across Asia. In the lead up to the ASEAN Para Games, Choo revealed that he and his teammates are optimistic about Singapore’s chances. He hopes that the squad will be able to finish the tournament with medals around their necks. Choo’s story of how something as simple as long hands can change someone’s life is a truly inspiring one. He is one of many who have adapted their lives and pushed themselves forward into a bright future.