Last week we chatted with Bailey Moody, the youngest member of the Team USA Women’s LastWheelchair Basketball Team that was set to play in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics before the date was postponed to 2021. Bailey is currently a senior in high school with plans to attend the University of Alabama in the fall. She has been playing wheelchair basketball for 6 years through Blaze Sports of America in Atlanta, Ga. Bailey was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at the age of 10 that led to the amputation of her right leg via rotationplasty- a type of amputation that removes the diseased portion of the leg and then takes the lower part of the calf, ankle and foot, rotates it 180 degrees and reattaches it to the thigh, effectively creating a new “knee” joint. She was an incredibly active kid and even played on her middle school basketball team after entering remission and recovering from her amputation. Over the past few years Bailey has been climbing the ranks on the national level of wheelchair basketball, earning her a spot on the USA Women’s Team all while maintaining high school classes and other extracurriculars. We asked her a few questions regarding the recent postponement of the games and how that’s impacted her as a Paralympian.
As a Paralympian, and one of the youngest on the U. S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team right now, how has this postponement affected your current training program and plans to start college in the fall?
The postponement itself has not directly affected my training any more than allowing me more time to become a better basketball player before I attend my first Paralympic games. However, with the fairly recent closings due to COVID-19, I have been having to do all of my workouts at home or outside. My teammates and I have gotten pretty creative when it comes to how we approach our training. I have been lifting in a home gym and shooting in my driveway or on an outdoor court in order to make sure I continue to improve. As far as college goes, the plan to start at the University of Alabama in the fall has not changed.
How does it feel to have the Paralympics pushed back when you’ve been working and traveling and competing to get there for the past 4+ years?
It's definitely disappointing to be mentally prepared for something and then have the finish line pushed further back. I am truly thankful that they did not cancel the games all together. This setback just allows for our younger team to build even more chemistry and improve our game.
Do you think that this extra year is going to benefit teams or cause some trouble due to all the training facilities being closed, or both?
I could see this postponement both benefiting and hurting teams because you never know what will happen when given more time. Older players could decide not to play anymore, people could get injured, sick, or some other unthinkable thing could happen. However, this also allows for younger teams to get better, work more together, build their team a bit more. There is an overwhelming majority of athletes that believe this postponement will allow them adequate training time that they would not have had otherwise.
What do you think teams and athletes of all abilities can learn from this experience?
I think this can be a reminder to athletes that things do not always go exactly the way that you want them to. Sometimes there will be adversity that you must fight through, but it will just make the end all the more worth it.
What do you personally hope to accomplish with this extra time?
With how young and inexperienced of a player I am, I hope to use this time well to further develop my game. I definitely have a lot to learn and can use this time to my advantage as I continue to hone in on my skills and continue to get stronger. Since I am at the very beginning of my career, this postponement could actually be very good for my game play.