Para athlete teaches dribbling and variety to Italian children

4 second-grade lessons within the Milan suburb of Verano Brianza have been studying to play basketball this spring from an actual professional

Their coach for the month of Might has been Adolfo Damian Berdun, an Argentinian-Italian wheelchair basketball champion. Berdun, 39, misplaced his left leg in a visitors accident at age 13 in his native Buenos Aires, and he has visited many faculties through the years to debate how he has lived together with his incapacity.

However this time, when he entered the suburban elementary college, Berdun wished to be merely “coach.”

It was his first time within the position. He declined ideas of a video introduction, and wheeled himself onto court docket the primary day with a clean slate, no backstory.

“Each class that got here in, checked out me with open mouths like they wished to ask a query,” Berdun stated. “I stated, ‘We are able to ask questions later, now we play basketball.’ ”

The top of the sporting affiliation that organized the five-week program recalled the primary day. Berdun made a easy introduction, then requested: “’ Do you wish to run?’ They stated sure, and he stated, ‘Run,’” stated Elena Sandre. And off they went, starved for motion after a tutorial 12 months largely bereft of workforce sports activities.

Over the 5 weeks, the youngsters realized to dribble and shoot; passing was restricted on account of COVID protocols. They lined up for drills, and navigated a slalom course on the gymnasium flooring. Berdun lowered two rings on both aspect of the basket, so children who couldn’t throw to the 10-foot (three-meter) peak of the usual hoop may have a shot.

Sandre received to know Berdun as a journalist overlaying wheelchair basketball in Italy, first when he was in Rome, then Sardinia and at last when he arrived within the Monza province of Lombardy, the place he performs on UnipolSai Briantea84 Cantù. The workforce gained the Italian championship this 12 months, and Berdun was named MVP for the championship. He continues to play on the Argentinian nationwide workforce, however gained’t be going to the Paralympics in Tokyo as a result of his workforce didn’t qualify.

Sandre stated she tapped Berdun not due to his incapacity, however as a result of she had noticed the way in which he commanded no matter workforce he performed on.

“If you happen to see him play, you see he’s a coach. He manages the workforce. He’s a frontrunner,’’ she stated. He had no hassle dealing with a generally noisy group of 7-year-olds.

“I didn’t think about that in a wheelchair, with so many youngsters, I may really feel so good,’’ Berdun stated.

Although Berdun held off on discussing his incapacity till the final day, the lesson of range trickled down. Sandre says she sees mother and father in social media posts discuss how “privileged” their youngsters are to have the expertise of studying from a para athlete.

For his final day, the youngsters gave Berdun drawings they’d made.

“However essentially the most lovely factor is that we succeeded in breaking down the barrier between the coach with one leg in a wheelchair, and the perfect of a coach, interval,” Berdun stated.

”How do I do know this? As a result of after asking me a few questions, they requested if they might proceed doing basketball drills. Meaning they have been extra all for taking part in than in realizing why I solely have one leg.”


“One Good Factor” is a collection that highlights people whose actions present glimmers of pleasure in arduous instances — tales of people that discover a solution to make a distinction, regardless of how small. Learn the gathering of tales at


Barry reported from Milan.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.