Gaetano, Shannon and Liesl updates

Tano Bagnato was looking at a long stint of 8 or 9 months on the sidelines when doctors first examined his broken arm back in December (full story in News - Jan-Mar 09). However, he healed quickly and had the various plates and pins removed from his arm early last month. It's now good to report that Tano started doing some shooting practice this week and has been cleared to do non-contact training with the WheelKings. Doctors say he can start contact work at the end of this month. There's still a bit of joint pain and muscle wastage to overcome but Tano is feeling pretty good about the speed of his rehabilitation. So are the WheelKings!

It's fair to say that Shannon Dallas was very down in the dumps following his his terrible crash in the Downhill event at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Korea last month. 2 days prior to the accident, he was crowned World Champion in the Super G (giant slalom) and was literally on top of the world. After the accident, he was told that his right shoulder was torn so badly that his career was finished. It was chilling for Shannon to experience the very highs and lows of his sporting life in just a few short days.

However, with the tremendous ongoing support of the APC and NSWIS, and the brilliant reconstruction work of his medical team, Shannon has picked himself up and set a goal of making the 2010 Winter Paralympics. Although the doctors wanted him to stay in Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital for another 3 weeks, Shannon felt confident enough to leave yesterday and head back to his home which has been newly fitted out to improve access. There are a number of irons in the fire for Shannon such as a newspaper column, public speaking and developing wheelchair basketball on the central coast ... and of course the 2010 Paras. Hopefully, pulling on a WheelKings uniform will work back into his plans some time down the track.

On a sadder note, 5-time Paralympian and Australian captain Liesl Tesch will not be suiting up for the WheelKings in 2009. Her parents are both suffering from serious illnesses and she is making all the time she can to be there for them. All of the wheelchair basketball community will be thinking of Liesl and wishing her and her family the very best in the months ahead.


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