In honor of February being Black History Month, I thought it would be cool to share what I learned about two African American men who play wheelchair basketball. Matt Scott and Trevon Jenifer are accomplished, award-winning athletes who have greatly influenced wheelchair basketball.
Matt Scott was born with spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spinal cord and the spine don’t form properly. It is considered a pediatric illness. He lived in Detroit, Michigan, and at 14 years old, started playing wheelchair basketball. He continued to play the sport throughout high school. Despite his disability, Scott finished high school and graduated from college with a degree in Sociology.
In 2004, Scott was recruited to be on the U.S. men’s national wheelchair basketball team. In 2007 and 2011, he played at the Parapan American Games in Brazil and his team won a gold medal. In 2006, he won a silver medal at the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Amsterdam. Four years later, he won a bronze medal at the same championship in Birmingham. He won a gold medal in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Brazil. He also competed in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Paralympics. Scott was nominated for an ESPY award in the category of “best male athlete with a disability.” He was the first U.S. Paralympian star to be in an advertisement for Nike. Today, Scott currently plays for the Galatasaray Porto Torres wheelchair basketball team.
Trevon Jenifer was born and raised in Huntingtown, Maryland. He was born with congenital amputation. congenital amputation is birth without a limb or limbs. At just four years old, Trevon was a successful track athlete. He held the record for doing 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters in wheelchair track. He was also a wrestler. During his first year in high school, he had a record of 17 to 18 and got sixth place in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference. During his second year in high school, he had a record of 2 to 3 and was second place in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.
Trevon published his first book called, “From the Ground Up” and made it into the Wrestling Hall of Fame, receiving the Medal of Courage. From 2008 to 2011, he was the captain of his college wheelchair basketball team. In 2009, he made the U23 USA national wheelchair basketball team. In 2010, Trevon made the USA men’s national wheelchair basketball team.
Trevon has also been a keynote speaker for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Horace Mann School and many other organizations.
About Zoe Hernandez: Zoe lives in Meriden, Connecticut. A Quantum® brand ambassador, Zoe attends Abilities Expos and speaks with people about her disability. She is currently enrolled in college and hopes to work in a community one day with people who are just like her. Click here to learn more about Zoe.