“Second chances would definitely be my story,” says Andrea Woodson-Smith. She played college basketball at James Madison University until she was sidelined after a collision during a game that resulted in three hip fractures. She was diagnosed with severe, irreversible arthritis in her hip and spine that limits her ability to do rapid movements like running or jumping.
So Andrea began playing wheelchair basketball while pursuing her PhD at Texas Woman’s University, which she received in 2006. “When I first started, I knew how to play basketball, but I didn’t know how to move the chair,” she recalls. She says that wheelchair basketball is “more like football” than basketball.
She has competed with the Chicago Sky, the Charlotte Rollin’ Bobcats, and now plays with the Triangle Thunder in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her husband, Jeremy Smith, is also an avid wheelchair basketball player,
Woodson-Smith was a member of the 2010 U.S. wheelchair basketball team that won the world championship in Birmingham, England. She made the crucial block that gave the US the win in the last 19 seconds of play. The women’s wheelchair basketball team also won gold at the 2011 Parapan American Games and is looking to defend its gold medal from the Beijing Paralympics.
Andrea Woodson-Smith is a professor at North Carolina Central University, where she helps design adaptive fitness programs. She has also worked hard to raise awareness for colon cancer, following the death of her mother from the disease.Back To Athletes