Life’s journey is loaded with surprising bends in the road, and sometimes, amid the difficulties, players find comfort in unexpected places. Twila Adams, a 64-year-old Paralympic athlete, eventually found her shelter in pickleball.
An Inspiring Story
From grappling with quadriplegia to becoming a defender of this paddle sport, Twila’s story is a huge inspiration. She hopes the sport will help to quash boundaries and motivate more people to embrace and conquer life’s challenges.
Twila is a member of the Southeastern Chapter and enlisted in the Army in 1980, serving until 1991. Her tenure included active involvement in Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in Kuwait and Iraq. Climbing the ranks to become a sergeant, she concluded her military career and returned to her hometown, Charlotte, NC.
In Charlotte, Twila ran a business that offered mobile manicures, pedicures, and Reiki to individuals confined by illness, age, or disability. Her services centered on the sick, elderly, and disabled, filling a critical gap in their self-care needs.
An Unexpected Turn
However, fate took an unexpected turn. Twila’s life was forever changed three years after her return home when a motorist ignored a red light, resulting in an accident that left her quadriplegic.
In the initial aftermath, her ability to move was confined to her mouth and eyes, and medical professionals delivered a grim prognosis: she would never regain her ability to walk or independently care for herself.
Undeterred by this bleak prognosis, she persisted in her quest for improvement. And, as Twila told Essentiallysports.com, rather than allowing adversity to quash her spirit, she harnessed it as a catalyst for improvement.
“I was raised to challenge the bounds of possibility, and that ethos has guided me throughout my life. When someone told me I couldn’t achieve something, it only fueled my resolve to attempt it.”
National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Twila was initially dubious when a recreational therapist first told her about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in 2002. Little did she know, this introduction would mark a pivotal turning point in her life.
“I saw about 600 athletes from all over doing things I never imagined could be part of my life. I used to say that my accident happened to me, but after getting introduced to the Wheelchair Games, I say it happened for me. It changed my life.”
Twila has since been a consistent participant in the Games, excelling in pickleball, billiards, trap shooting, field events, bowling, boccia, powerlifting, and tennis. In 2002, she claimed the Sportsmanship Award at the PVA National Trap Shoot Competition, becoming the first woman to achieve this.
Twila has now attended the Games for years, competing in sports like billiards, trap shooting, field events, bowling, boccia, powerlifting, and tennis. In 2002, she was the first woman to win the Sportsmanship Award at the PVA National Trap Shoot Competition. In 2019, she won the prestigious Spirit of the Games Award, given to the athlete who best exemplifies the heart and soul of the Games.
West Charlotte Entertainment Center
Twila’s influence has prompted several changes at the West Charlotte Entertainment Center she attends. A youth association has been established, and the tennis courts can now take pickleball matches.
She’s also been responsible for the growing popularity of pickleball in the surrounding area. For her, it’s more than just a game; it is a sport for interacting with her community.
Her encounter with a 5-year-old epitomizes this camaraderie as they playfully exchanged hits, creating cherished memories. Twila affirms, “I’m drawn to this sport because of the camaraderie and socialization it brings.”
We’ve covered the subject of how mental or physical impairment is no obstacle when it comes to participating in pickleball in these other great articles.
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