Purdue student prepares to compete in Olympic Paraplegic Baketball game

One woman's passion to compete has landed her a spot on the Olympic Paraplegic Basketball team.

Posted: Jul. 28, 2018 8:25 PM
Updated: Jul. 28, 2018 8:25 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)— One woman's passion to compete has landed her a spot on the Olympic Paraplegic Basketball team.

The passion to play has always run through Shelby Gruss' blood, memories her cousin Erin Marty remembers like it was yesterday.

"Shelby growing up was always involved in track, basketball, volleyball, I can't count how many times I've seen her play games," said Gruss "Shelby and I were the wild children, we were always playing in the dirt, running around like crazy hooligans."

Gruss' is described herself as a "Jack of all trades" when it comes to sports.

"I've done a little bit of everything," said Gruss. "I have three older brothers and so they've kind of instilled a competitiveness in me. I wanted to do everything and wanted to be the best at everything."

It wasn't until her senior year in high school when she was in a snowboarding accident. Gruss and her brothers hit the slopes one night and during their last run, her life changed forever.

"We went through them a couple of times, and this was one of the last times we were going to go through them, I went up and caught an edge badly when I hit, and so my feet, I landed really wrong. My brother comes down and asks 'are you okay?' and that's when I'm not okay."

She was airlifted to the hospital and immediately went into surgery. The doctors told her she would never walk again.

Her aunt Karen Marty said this accident didn't slow her down.

"She started playing with a group up in Fort Wayne that was mostly veterans," said Marty. "There were some that were paraplegic like Shelby some that were amputees."

She was recruited by the coach for the Paraplegic USA Basketball Team. Gruss is taking off to play in Germany next week with her teammates.

Even as the team captain, she said adapting to her chair to play the sport she loves could always use some extra practice.

"I don't fully believe that but at the same time but I'm still living my life," said Gruss. "I'm having a great life how I am, so it's been a ride."

Shelby will be competing in Germany starting next week. Gruss hopes this will lead her team to play in Tokyo in 2020.

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