By: Lyndsey Hrabik '13
Doane graduate Natalie Schneider '05 is making her second appearance at the Paralympic games, with the hopes of a wheelchair basketball gold-medal repeat. In 2008 she helped the United States win gold in Beijing. This time, she is part of the team seeking gold in London.
So far, the United States is 1-1 in preliminary competition, beating France by 39 points and losing to Germany by just six points. Schneider led the team in the game against Germany with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The team will face Mexico and China in upcoming preliminary games, and the gold medal game will be played Sept. 7.
The sport was introduced to the games in 1960's Rome Games, and has remained a staple ever since. The United States will take on nine other teams to compete for the title.
Each player is classified with a level of disability, with 1.0 being the lowest and 4.5 being the highest. Each five-player team must not exceed 14.0 points to provide a fair competition. Schneider ranks in the highest class, a 4.5, meaning she has the lowest physical disability.
Schneider was a standout basketball player at Crete High School, but was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer 13 years ago. Surgeons inserted a titanium rod in her right femur where cancerous bone had once been. But the rod needs to last forever, doctors said, because if it breaks she may lose a portion of her leg.
With all the work and games that go into Paralympic training, a love of the game is a necessity. And it's easy to see where her passion for the game started. Schneider grew up around the sport in a basketball family, with a father who was head coach at Crete High School and assistant coach to the Doane women's basketball team. Her brother also became a basketball coach at Fremont Middle School.
Schneider received her Bachelor's Degree in math and computer science, and later received her doctorate in statistics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She now resides in Ord, Neb. with her husband, Dr. Daniel Schneider.
After pool play, the tournament starts. The Websites below should have the designated times.
www.paralympic.org - International Paralympic Committee
www.youtube.com/usparalympics - US Paralympic dedicated channel on YouTube
www.universalsports.com - NBC Sports Network
www.facebook.com/usawheelchairbasketballwomensnationalteam - Team Facebook page
www.nwba.org - National Wheelchair Basketball Association
In addition to the online content, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air one-hour highlight shows on Sept. 4, 5, 6 and 11 at 7 p.m. EDT. Following the Paralympic Games, on Sept. 16, NBC will broadcast a 90 minute special from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT.