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Second Wheelchair Basketballer Considers Leg Amputation After Rule Change

August 21, 2020

It seems this is a big story that should be shared and covered widely. This is the second such story we’ve covered in less than four weeks. We note that Oscar Knight is awaiting the outcome of the first case, George Bates.

A wheelchair basketball player deemed ineligible to play after a rule change says he is considering having his legs amputated.

GB Academy player Oscar Knight, 17, from Plymouth, suffers from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

He said new participation measures did not recognise his “poorly understood” condition and have made him “not the right kind of disabled” to compete.

The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) has been approached for comment.

In January, the committee told wheelchair basketball’s governing body, the IWBF, it needed to change its classification regulations in order to comply with the new code.

Under the IPC’s criteria, pain or hypermobility of joints are not eligible impairments for athletes, but amputated lower limbs are.

Oscar, who has played in three international games for the GB Academy in the last two years, said the “heartbreaking” change meant he was ineligible to play the sport at a senior level.

‘Want to chop my legs off’

He said wheelchair basketball had helped him to come to terms with his condition, which causes persistent severe pain, since he was diagnosed at the age of nine.

“It has brought such great things to my life, and a potential career, but now that’s been taken away,” Oscar said.

Mr Knight said he was “not surprised” by the decision because his condition was so poorly understood.

“I shouldn’t have to amputate my legs to continue in a sport just so I’m the right kind of disabled”, he said.

“It just makes no sense.

“My mental health has been pretty terrible and has made me want to chop them off”.

The teenager said his decision would depend on the outcome of GB player George Bates, who has initiated an appeal against the IPC and is also considering amputation.

“This sport has brought me such happiness and mental stability”, Oscar said.

“Being able to go to a high level in wheelchair basketball was such a driver for me, and to potentially have that taken away is heartbreaking”.

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