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 as he trains for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
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 set himself a goal of being selected to play for the Rollers at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Matt says entering 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.
Matt is training six days a week to give himself the best chance of success at the pinnacle event of his sport
Off the basketball court, Matt is studying for his Bachelor of Industrial Design at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus. In ten years he hopes to have a successful career in product design.
Matt also loves watching movies, listing Pulp Fiction as his favourite film, and relishes the opportunity to watch any live sport. He supports the Boston Celtics in the NBA and supports his local AFL team, the Gold Coast Suns.