In Kashmir, wheelchair basketball is giving many people hope, a chance to live, a chance to overcome great difficulties, and, most importantly, a chance to be equal. Tragic events may have occurred at different times in their lives and in different ways, but the game brings them together.
“Life doesn’t stop; it only changes,” Insha Bashir, a 27-year-old wheelchair basketball player from Kashmir, explained.
Insha was killed when she fell from the second storey of her under-construction home in Kashmir’s Budgam district. She had been diagnosed with stomach ulcers a year before. She felt dizzy, vomited blood, and collapsed. Insha’s spinal cord was injured. She was 15 at the time.
Insha graduated, but her will to continue fighting was waning. The feeling of being a liability to her parents, exacerbated by the discussion of her condition, took its toll on her emotions.
“We take life to the next level with every dribble.” I am not unique in any way. We are on par with one another, if not better. Insha stated, “We are fighters.”
Basketball improved the game by releasing energy and allowing her to gain confidence. She has experience with all of the game’s formats.
She isn’t the only one that has this problem. Countless friends relate stories of agony, grief, and pessimism as they try to navigate a society that, they claim, has not developed to embrace persons with disabilities as equals.
Tariq Ahmad, Kunzer Batpora, was an automobile enthusiast. He had dropped out of school to help support his family and started working as a mechanic. He was working beneath a truck when it crashed. It was the year 2013.
He was brought to the hospital, where he received medication, spent months in the hospital, and underwent procedures. Tariq’s spinal injury was so serious that he was unable to stand up on his own. He was engaged to be married, but that fell through following the disaster. When tragedy struck again in 2016, his father passed away while he was still receiving treatment from physiotherapists.
“A year before my father died, I had joined the players. Tariq remarked, “Emotionally, I was getting stronger and bolder.”
Tariq was shattered after the terrible tragedy when he lost his father, but “it was the sportsperson in me who wanted to take the challenge,” he says.
“I was prepared to retaliate. I accepted the burden of leading my family and caring for my sisters.”
Tariq works at a grocery store to support his family, but he also finds time to play. He has competed in wheelchair basketball competitions at the national level.
This group of athletes’ lives have changed, not ended. Taking their rage, fury, and confusion and channeling it into the game. “It’s always life’s dribble.” Fight, concentrate, break through the limits, and score points.”
“Driving is something I constantly miss. “I was enthralled by it,” he laments.
When Tabassum Farooq begged her father for permission to play, he did not hesitate.
“Go ahead and have fun.” “There is nothing that can stop you,” Tabassum confides, which gave her a burst of confidence.
Tabassum, 26, was three years old when her health began to decline. ‘For my father, education was non-negotiable,’ she explains.
She was late to the game, as she is now pursuing her Master’s degree. She, on the other hand, rushed and won the north zone trials.
“It allows you to think, and it allows you to release energy.” “It gives you the strength to move on with your life,” she added, “but not as someone with a disability, but as someone with better ability.”
Nusrat Rasool shares Tabassum’s story. She, too, began to have health issues as a child. She is 27 years old and studying for a Bachelor’s degree.
“If life gives you a game, play the Olympics,” she advises.
When Mohammad Rafi Parray, 33, fell from the second floor of his home in 2010, his life was turned upside down. He was brought to the hospital, where he discovered he had a significant spinal damage.
“My life did not come to an end; it simply altered.” This isn’t the end of my objectives. “All I have to do now is adjust how I do things,” Rafi believes.
He was introduced to the game while receiving physiotherapy at the Voluntary Medical Society in Srinagar, the region’s summer capital.
“People ask silly questions that irritate you, but it gives you strength as a sportsperson.” He says, “Fight it out.”
Shafaqat Rehabilitation Centre is a medical rehabilitation center managed by the Voluntary Medicare Society in Srinagar. In Urdu, Shafaqat signifies Compassion. All of these players had been to VMS to learn the game for the first time.
“I recall Insha being carried by three people (her relatives) and placed on a table. We had put together an outreach program at the time. Dr. Bashir Ahmad, a VMS administrator, told FanSided, “She was absolutely dependant, totally mute, not saying a word.”
In Kashmir, wheelchair basketball is about physical and emotional wellbeing.
According to Dr. Bashir, their program includes identifying and rehabilitating persons with a variety of difficulties, including physical disabilities. They met Insha and some of the others during one of these programs.
“She worked with VMS for about a year. The severity of the injury is measured as a standard method for everybody, as it is in the case of these athletes. Then we’ll figure out when we need to take them along emotionally and physically,” Dr. Bashir stated.
The VMS launched wheelchair basketball in 2014, and it quickly became popular. Insha was reluctant to communicate, according to Dr. Basher, and counseling was offered to help her deal with her despair. Emotional health was equally as important to the doctors at VMS as physical health.