The wheelchair basketballer who refused to let her condition hold her back


Amber Merritt.
Amber Merritt.

WHEELCHAIR basketballer and Paralympian Amber Merritt says she wants to show that disabilities are a more than meets the eye.

The 23-year-old was born with clubfoot, which means her Achilles on her left side stopped developing correctly.

Originally, her left big toe was touching the left side of her leg when she was born.

She has had almost 10 surgeries and her left leg is less developed and smaller than her right.

She can walk on both feet and was not always confined to a chair, but has to be careful and manage the pain and not tear any tendons.

She has not let that deter her, playing wheelchair basketball from 14 and going on to play in the London 2012 Paralympics with the Gliders and won a silver medal.

“I am a bit of a unique case,” she said.

“The leg and foot has affected everything on the left side as it is smaller than the right by 4cm and I wear a different shoe size which is three sizes smaller so there are a lot of implications.”

She said she loved using her position working at Wheelchair Sports Association WA to raise awareness.

“I love talking to people and going into the community and raising awareness. Disability is a lot more than meets the eye,” she said.

As a junior, Merritt was a strong competitive swimmer and did swim with the able-bodied competitors as well as with people with a disability.

She is currently involved with Wheelchair Sports Association WA and the Wheel LIFE program, which sees people from the community spend a day in a wheelchair.