Local cancer survivor masters wheelchair hoops

Posted: 8:21 PM, Feb 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-06 03:56:27Z

In the last two and a half years, Emily Oberst transformed her basketball game.  It started with her preparation by assembling her wheelchair.  In eighth grade Emily was diagnosed with bone cancer.

“It was right here was where I had my cancer,” Emily said pointing to her left leg.  “So I had massive surgery to my fibia and replaced it as my tibia…I'm able to run it's just that physically I'm not strong enough,” she explained. 

“I was more upset knowing that I could never play the sports that I loved than the actual kind of like cancer part because that was like my life back then, and I thought like my sports world was gone but then finding this sport really changed everything…My new pair of shoes is a wheelchair.”

Now cancer free and a member of the Varsity Junior Bucks, the 17 year old is on her way to college to the University of Alabama where she received a scholarship to play wheelchair basketball.

“This is like a life-changing sport for me, being able to come back to what I love,” said the senior at Brookfield Central.

Emily says she likes playing wheelchair basketball better than able-bodied basketball because it's different and more challenging.  She can be the old Emily in a new way.  And her coach says Emily’s using some of those old techniques to make her a better player.

“The mechanics are there so that when she was transitioning from the start she had a good shot form,” explained Mareike Miller head coach of the Varsity Junior Bucks.  “She's a good outside shooter.”

And just like in the game of basketball, it's fast, it's physical and as Emily describes, “no one cares what your lower legs are like and that's really awesome.”