Millie’s road to basketball success

Millie Riley is 13 years old and a student at Finham Park 2 Secondary school in Coventry. Millie has a very rare condition called DeGeorge Syndrome, which affects her mobility and often leaves her highly fatigued from everyday tasks.

Secondary school can be a tough place for any student, but Millie was battling to manage her condition, as well as being affected by the unkindness of other students. Bullying had left her feeling unconfident about using her wheelchair at school, and the knock-on effect left her constantly exhausted. It was taking its toll and having a detrimental impact on her day-to-day school life, as well as leaving her with no energy to do other things at home.  

All of this changed though, when she had the opportunity to attend a Winning on Wheels event hosted by Think Active in 2022. This was Millie’s first experience of playing wheelchair sports, including Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair basketball.  

Millie’s Mum Kelly was so impressed with the change in confidence and more: 

“Millie took part in the 4-day sports camp, where she was using her chair all day. We both noticed that her energy levels had just shifted completely, and she wasn’t totally exhausted by the evening, like she would be after a day at school not using her chair.” 

“The whole thing just really lit her up and we saw the old Millie re-emerge through this new sporting experience and now it means so much to her.”  

The confidence Millie has gained from playing Wheelchair basketball has also empowered her to use her chair regularly at school, which has been transformational.  

“I absolutely love playing basketball and I’ve made loads of new friends at the Bears Basketball team. We get to train every Saturday, as well as play matches against other teams. I feel like my chair has become much more a part of me now and I’m so happy that I get to play this sport too!” Said Millie. 

Millie is now playing basketball for the Bears Wheelchair Basketball team, who train every week in Solihull. As well as being in the Bears team, she has also been selected to play for West Midlands U14s team and Coach Tom couldn’t be prouder: 

“Millie has really come on in huge measures since she first joined us last year. We can see her confidence and power growing week on week and she’s got a great eye for slotting the ball straight in the net.  She is a brilliant team player and we’re so happy to have her.” Explains Coach Tom.  

We all know deep down that being active is one of the best things you can do to look after your health (both physical health and mental health) but sometimes finding the right outlet or the motivation to get started is the biggest challenge of all.  

Abi Dixon from Think Active had this to say:  

“Hearing stories like Millie’s is so inspirational and just shows what a difference it can make when you step out of your comfort zone and try something new.  

It also goes to show that there are lots of ways to be active and it is possible to find something to suit your lifestyle, ability, background etc.  

Millie’s newfound passion for Wheelchair basketball has had such a profound impact on every part of her life and she is showing us all what is possible.  

With the support of her mum, her coach and her team, we hope that Millie’s love of the sport and the positive impact it is having for her continues long into the future.  

Thank you, Millie, for sharing your story and helping to inspire others to give something new a try and get more active.”  

If you’d like to find out more about Wheelchair basketball, give it a try and maybe start out on your own wheelie good road to a new sport then find out more here: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/get-involved/play/club-finder/  

A girl in a wheel chair smiling on a basket ball court
A girl in a wheel chair throwing a basket ball
A girl in a wheel chair throwing a basket ball

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