Athlete of the Week: Hamilton Southeastern’s Nick Oman
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nick Oman has always loved sports. Growing up he spent a lot of time watching and not a lot of time playing.
That changed when Oman joined the RHI Racers, a wheelchair basketball team made up of kids from all over central Indiana.
“It’s very similar to able-bodied basketball. A lot of the rules still apply. As in any sport, we have varying levels of disabilities, so one kid might have more function than others so there is that barrier we face from time to time,” said RHI Racers director Jake Patrick.
Oman was born with spina bifida. He has paralysis in his feet and a little throughout his legs. He can walk but not long distances. He started playing wheelchair basketball when he was nine.
“It’s really fun because you get to meet a lot of different people, hear their stories and become good friends,” said Oman.
The team practices every week and competes in tournaments throughout the year.
“Nick’s a pretty special kid. We’ve got a lot of special kids on our team. He epitomizes what we want in our athletes, very humble, great sportsmanship, works hard,” said Patrick.
And it’s given Nick and his teammates a completely different level of independence and self-confidence.
“Being able to see what you can do in life and overcome your differences and just play hard,” said Oman.
“It’s very inspiring. If you grew up playing sports, you know what sports can teach you about sportsmanship, camaraderie, but it’s even more special for kids with disabilities, you see that self confidence grow, their independence grows and they get a lot more socialization, more vocal, make a lot of new friends,” said Patrick.