Inspired through coaching
Steve Ryan is inspiring Calgary's wheelchair basketball athletes.
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:54PM MDT
In September of 2000, Steve Ryan's life took a plunge.
Ryan was a passenger in a vehicle that flipped on the Spray Lakes Road near Canmore. He was thrown from the car, down the mountainside.
The life-changing accident didn't stop him. In fact, it spurred him on to inspire others with his skill, talent and courage.
Calgary has some world class wheelchair basketball players and Steve Ryan is one of the coaches motivating them to be their best.
Ryan was going through rehabilitation at the University of Calgary after his accident when he was introduced to the sport.
"I would see the players, they'd be practicing in the gym below where I would be working out," says Ryan. "I'd look down and watch them play ball. I was always a competitive person. I've always had sports in my life, so it was a good opportunity and the right time."
He played competitive basketball for a number of years, but eventually he found the younger players were a bit too fast for him so he began coaching and now works with Calgary's top female players.
"I take my knowledge of sports, my knowledge of the game and it translated well to the women's game."
One member of his team is a five time Paralympian, who is preparing to take part in her sixth games in London. Kendra Ohama says she has learned a lot from Ryan.
"He's a really intelligent man," says Ohama. "He's very calm, he has a really good rapport with a lot of the athletes here so he has a great way, a great coaching aspect about him and people will listen to him."
Chad Jassman is going to his first Paralympics and he credits Steve Ryan for assisting in his success.
"When I first started I was brand new, didn't know much about the game, that's when (Ryan) was still playing a whole bunch," says Jassman. "When I was new, he showed me everything there is to know about the sport."
Ryan encourages young people who are in a wheelchair to get involved in the sport because there's so much to gain.
"The positive reinforcements it brings to your life, you know, it gives you something to wake up, something to look forward to," says Ryan. "It gives a goal for the end of the day."
For using his own experience to encourage others to be their best, Steve Ryan is the CTV Inspiring Albertan.