Sportable Stories: Hannah Smith

“You are a Warhawk!” read the letter of acceptance. The words that Hannah had been waiting for since she submitted her application to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the spring. Five years ago, Hannah would not have imagined going to Wisconsin for school, let alone playing wheelchair basketball. On Sunday, November 29, she made it official by signing her letter of intent in a ceremony for friends and family and streamed live on Facebook.

With an ear-to-ear grin, Hannah claims: “If you had told me then that someday I’d be offered a spot on a women’s collegiate wheelchair basketball team, that I’d be getting a degree in elementary and adaptive education, that I’d be living independently 14 hours from my family, and that I’d have multiple scholarships to do all this, I would have said you were crazy!”

Born with spina bifida, Hannah has never been able to walk without crutches. She got her first wheelchair at age 6 and quickly learned how to master it. However, it wasn’t until Sportable came into her life that she learned that her disability could not hold her back from sports.

Hannah was eager to try many adaptive sports at Sportable—tennis, rock climbing, kayaking and road racing. But it was wheelchair basketball that captured her attention and focus and she hasn’t looked back. It wasn’t just the sport that attracted her—the camaraderie on and off the court with teammates was most appealing. She also learned from her mentors who believed in her and modeled sportsmanship and hard work.

“At Sportable, I experienced the true meaning of teamwork, fierce competition and belonging,” according to Hannah. “It helped me realize my potential and does the same for every adaptive athlete.”

The Warhawks are lucky to have you, Hannah!

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