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UA Women's Wheelchair Basketball Coach inspiring others to chase their dreams

Josie Aslakson
Posted at 6:50 PM, Dec 07, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 26-year-old Josie Aslakson's home is filled with dozens of items she's collected from all over the world.

"That's a doll from Peru. There is origami from Japan," said Aslakson.

All of the pieces are from places she's visited to play basketball.

"I think I just feel really invigorated when I play. I feel empowered," said Aslakson.

It's taken her several years to gain the confidence she has today.

"I was in a car accident in Minnesota, where I'm from. I was the only one hurt. I was just used to just me in my small town, being disabled and not really knowing anyone else in a wheelchair," said Aslakson.

Aslakson leads a whole team of women who have experienced similar hardship and didn't let it stop them.

"I put my name in for the application. I ended up getting the job and now I'm coaching," said Aslakson.

That coaching job is for the University of Arizona's Women's Wheelchair Basketball team. Aslakson was on the team when she was in college and eventually represented Team USA at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

"Once we got there it was worth it, for sure. You're playing the sport that you love on the biggest stage that there is to play it. That in itself is worth any hardship, I think," said Aslakson.

Aslakson's time on the court doesn't stop there. This December, she'll compete in the 2021 Angel City Games presented by The Hartford in Los Angeles. The games are a celebration of Paralympic sports.

"I'm really excited to meet new kids and show them the ropes, if it is new for them," said Aslakson.

She hopes all wheelchair basketball players will chase their dreams just like she did.

"I just want to see them be successful and confident in themselves," said Aslakson.