A Challenge Athlete Robert Daniels II

Robert Daniels II was born with Spina bifida, a condition found at birth, in which the neural tube does not close all the way, preventing the backbone from forming and closing. This leaves the spinal cord unprotected. Spina Bifida can cause mild to severe physical and intellectual disabilities depending on size and location the opening along the spine and damage to the spinal cord and nerves. Robert became a wheelchair athlete at the age of five with The CT Cruisers, sponsored by Newington Children Hospital, Newington, CT. Robert’s athletic experience includes but is not limited to shotput, javelin, discus, track and field, weightlifting, baseball, tennis, boxing, soccer, and basketball. He also competed in a slalom course designed to help people with disabilities improve their skills in handling different barriers within the community. Robert has won numerous athletic awards, including the 1996 Best Athlete (New Jersey Invitational Wheelchair Meet) and the 1997 National Record for Discus (Mesa, Arizona).       Robert is currently a member of The Connecticut Spokebenders (New Britain, CT), the only adult wheelchair basketball team in CT. The team includes men and women of various ages and levels of disabilities. When Robert joined the Spokebenders, they loaned him a basketball wheelchair to use for practices and games. Robert also practices at Chapter 126 in Bristol, CT, where he also had use of a loaner chair. Structural differences between the two chairs at these facilities dramatically affected his ability to play basketball. The Spokebenders’ loaner chair eventually broke in four places. Robert had to practice in his everyday wheelchair, which was not designed for sports. Another team loaner chair came available for him to use. Robert has to make adjustments each time he uses the chair.  In order to compete to the best of his ability,  he will need a basketball wheelchair of his own,  measured and fitted for his body. A basketball wheelchair is costly and unfortunately,  we cannot pay for one on our own. Robert has been an athlete for most of his life. He has been an inspiration to many as an athlete who will not let his disability stop him from achieving his goals. Please contribute to our fundraiser to help Robert continue on this path.  
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Robert J. Daniels II 
Hartford, CT

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