COLORADO SPRINGS — Brian Bell has never let the fear of being different keep him from playing the game. When Brian was just 10 years old, he lost his leg due to a train accident. Brian finished rehab and had the mindset that he was going to get back to playing football and basketball, his two favorite sports. He played football with his prosthetic leg until it became too physical. This led him to discover wheelchair basketball.
It was Brian’s mother who found the Lakeshore Foundation, a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site in Alabama. It was here Brian fell in love with wheelchair basketball over summer camp. And he never looked back. In 2016 Bell proved he was elite at the sport, claiming the gold medal in Rio and he hopes to defend that medal this summer in Tokyo. He says it’s great getting to see wheelchair basketball, along with other Paralympic sports gain recognition.
“Yeah, it’s really, really big. It’s just getting more coverage for Paralympic athletes, compared to Olympic athletes. It’s getting a lot better over the years and it’s just steadily growing and growing which is great to see but we would love to get it, you know, to that same level as Olympic coverage,” said Bell.
Bell also has world championship experience, having won 2 silver medals, most recently in 2018. He says it’s important that we educate kids on what they can do, and what he says quote, “just as easily” as people who don’t have the same challenges. He says competing as a Paralympian is an incredible feeling.
“It’s amazing. It’s the highest stage to represent your country. It’s an honor to be a part of the team and to be able to show the world what Team USA can do.” said Bell.
Brian is also a father, enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family. He says he’s thankful for the chance to compete in Tokyo after waiting an extra year.