Fischbach competes for Team USA

Fourteen-year old Dylan Fischbach sees his disability as more of an opportunity. Fischbach, who had his right leg amputated just before he turned 3 years old because of cancer, was selected to be a part of Team USA's Under-20 National Junior Wheelchair Basketball team for the Inaugural Australian Youth Paralympic Games.

"I don't look at it as a disability really," Fischbach said. "If this is a disability, then it's a gift from God because it's giving me an opportunity that not many people get."

Fischbach, who is from Vermillion, has had many opportunities since he lost his leg.He has been a part of a local wheelchair basketball team, the Nebraska Red Dogs, and is a two-time national champion in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair softball.

Bruce Fischbach, Dylan's dad, said having only one leg has never held his son back.

"As a family we were devastated at first because I work with sports medicine at the University of South Dakota and my wife is a physical education teacher, so athletics is kind of at our core," Bruce Fischbach said. "Ever since he got his first prosthetic leg, we have never said he can't do any activity and if he wanted to try a sport, we let him."

Some of the sports Dylan has participated in are wrestling, soccer, baseball and both regular basketball and wheelchair basketball.

Now Dylan will be a part of Team USA. He began his journey to Australia on Thursday, Oct. 1.

"It's a great honor, and I'm at a loss for words because it's so amazing to have the opportunity to go over there," Dylan said. "It's a once in a life time opportunity to get to go over there."

Dylan will be the youngest player on the team at age 14.

Team USA got together over Labor Day weekend for practices over two days in Minneapolis, MN and that's when Dylan learned what his role on the team will be.

"So far, I will be the back-up point guard and a 3-point specialist," Dylan said.Dylan will have to adjust to the international rules. Instead of a 34-second shot clock and 10-second backcourt violation, it be a 24-second shot clock and eight-second backcourt violation. Plus the wheels on the chair cannot come off the ground or else it's a turnover.

Dylan said he will have to work at making the adjustments in the short period of time.

"Sometimes I get rolling too fast and I run into people and my wheels come off the ground," Dylan said. "I just have to slow down a bit so it doesn't cost the team."

Dylan said he is nervous, but playing big games throughout his career helps."I think anyone would be nervous to go over and play for Team USA," Dylan said. "Having the big game experience helps, but it's still a bigger stage. It will be fun."

Dylan won't be going over to Australia alone. Of course he will be with his team and has become good friends with his coaches and his roommate, who he knows from North Dakota. But he will also be joined by his grandfather.

"Once we got the travel arrangements figured out, we sent them to my wife's dad, and he was able to go, so we will at least have someone on that side of the world be there with him," Bruce said. "That's a long way. If he gets homesick, it's not like we can just get in a car and go home."

One thing Dylan enjoys about being on Team USA is his number, which is eight, because it was former Chicago Bulls' Scottie Pippin's number when he played for Team USA.When Dylan comes back, he said he will have learned a lot.

"It's a pretty good opportunity to play with all of these older people and learn from them," Dylan said. "A couple of the captains have talked to me and they just said got out there and do what I do. Just keep doing what I have always done and it will show the coaches my talent and I could get some good playing time."

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