Sheldon Larsen was diagnosed with a childhood hip disorder known as Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (or commonly called as Perthes Disease) when he was eight years of age. The disease is initiated by a disruption of the flow of blood in the femoral head, or the ball of the femur bone. Because of the lack of blood supply, osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis occurs, wherein the bone dies and stops growing. But his condition did not stop him from playing basketball and winning the championship game. Watch how this wheelchair basketballer shines.
The common signs and symptoms of Perthes disease is knee, hip or groin pain which is exacerbated by hip or leg movement especially when twisting the leg inward or toward the center of the body. The pain can be moderated to severe, and at times, it renders the person unable to get up or stand.
Range of motion is reduced because of pain felt during movement. This then often result to atrophy or wasting away of the thigh muscle and an inequality of the length of the legs or lower extremities.
Larsen confided that he often feels pain and discomfort on his hip and knee. But to him, his physical limitations and his use of the wheelchair often are not hindrances. He considers his condition as a challenge to do better, to strive for more, and to excel in the game. In fact, he is one of New Zealand’s top wheelchair basketballers.
This 27-year-old former Morrinsville resident has been playing the sport to stay healthy and fit. But as he played more of the game, he began loving it and its competitive nature. He even said that that how he moves when he is on the court and the progress he and the other players make are some of the things that he appreciates and adores about basketball.
Larsen is a starting member of the Waikato senior wheelchair basketball team, which is led by the New Zealand Rollerblacks national team. Waikato has been unbeaten since the 2012 national final. And just last month, Larsen and the Waikato wheelchair basketballers won the North Island championships, and they will be competing in Auckland for the nationals scheduled on the weekend.
Larsen is currently negotiating a scholarship for 2 years with SCIT located in Brisbane. Though details are not yet finalized, he hopes that this scholarship will be an opportunity to study and learn about personal training and also a stepping stone for him to enter international wheelchair basketball played by other great athletes across the globe.
This young and talented wheelchair basketballer should remind people that limitations should not hinder them from doing and even excelling in their career, profession or sport. Larsen is living proof that there is no limit for people who aim high, live their dreams, and work hard to achieve their goals.