Schneider Ready to Capture Gold for 4th Time

By: Dan Koob Email
By: Dan Koob Email

For a schedule of U.S. Basketball games in the upcoming Paralympic Games, click here.

Natalie Schneider is a gold medal basketball player for the United States.

But you won't find her on the U.S. roster currently in London.

Her opening game will be August 30th when the United States open the Paralympic Games.

After being named an All-Conference performer at Crete High School, Schneider was diagnosed with Osteo-sarcoma in her right leg at the age of 16.

"I started as a freshmen on varsity, so I was already thinking about playing ball in college but I had to give up those dreams," Schneider said.

Dreams sacrificed not only between the baselines, but in everyday life. Now altered significantly.

"I spent most of my junior year in chemo. I had a knee and partial femur replacement, so they took out the bone of my lower femur and knee and its all replaced with titanium now," she said. "And it was just a hard age to be bald you know."

She is able to walk, but competing in able-bodied sports has not been an option since.

For someone so driven by athletic achievement, the wheelchair is a chance to channel her competitiveness.

"Even though I walk in my everyday life, I found out I can play wheelchair basketball and that's really changed my life."

Schneider spends her time in Ord training with her husband Daniel.

"My job is basically, I'm a professional rebounder," Daniel said. "I get the ball back to her, I run a stop watch during drills, occasionally I'll get into a chair, so she can abuse me on the court."

Schneider is a three time international gold medalist including the 2008 Beijing games, where she came off the bench for the Americans.

Four years later, she's now a starter. Adding moves like a tilt shot to her arsenal and showing off blistered hands that have now become customary.

"Its been great to watch her grow as an athlete," Daniel said. "Helping her train I get to see the hard work she puts in every day so seeing her reap the benefits of that is a lot of fun."

"Knowing I want to hit that last free throw, with one second left, with my team trailing down one. Knowing that sort off thing really keeps me motivated and keeps me going," she said before her practice at Ord High school.

She missed only a handful of her 30 attempts.

The Paralympic games begin in London on August 29th.

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