Great Britain wheelchair basketball player George Bates is giving serious consideration to having his leg amputated so he can compete with the team at the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo.
The 26-year-old, who has been unable to walk without assistance since being injured playing football when he was 11, has been told the complex regional pain syndrome he suffers with does not meet the new criterion for eligibility at the Games.
NBA, NFL, MLB, and WNBA players: get out your paper and take some notes. THIS is what being a team player looks like. Not skipping out on the season because you're expecting your second child. Not avoiding the bubble because of respiratory issues. Not even arguing with doctors who said you could go play even though you have Lyme disease. George Bates would inject himself with coronavirus to play for his team. I mean, he's literally willing to cut his leg off to continue playing wheelchair basketball.
Now as much as I love this guy's attitude, I will say this: I can see the issue in question. For those of you that live under a rock and simply do not know, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has used "pain based conditions" to determine eligibility in the past. On a scale of 1.0 (most impaired) to 5.0 (least impaired), George Bates is a 4.5. I would compare it to a hangover in the morning after a night of six beers, a couple tequila shots, and trying a sip of your buddy's wife's newest favorite seltzer. I mean, the guy says he walks with a crutch. I couldn't even get off the couch until 4 pm last Saturday. And neither of those fall into the new guidelines being enforced....
“The IPC have forced the international wheelchair federation to change their classification code – every disability has to fit into a small 10-point category and if you are not in any of those points you are deemed ineligible"
Look, as much as I want George Bates to win his appeal because he's been playing wheelchair basketball since the age of 13 and the alternative is the guy is going to cut his leg off, we might need to see him put his money where his mouth is. For the sport's sake. Or do you want to see international wheelchair basketball being flooded with people that are a 4.5 on the pain scale? Derrick Rose isn't going to be able to walk at his son's graduation.....he has to be a 4.5. I bet he could do some damage in the wheelchair league. Can't tear your ACL if you're euro stepping through the lane on four wheels.
I don't know guys. I could see a world where ex-NBA players have three options when they hang up their sneakers professionally: the Big 3 league, the TBT tournament, and international wheelchair ball. And I don't want to see this league become oversaturated with former All-Star and 2x NBA Champions like Andrew Bynum rolling around the paint and sending everyone's runners in the lane to the moon. Talk about a great rim protector. I think Bates has to cut his leg off. I think it's the only option.
**By the way, we're not dealing with some Alec Burks or Justin Holiday here. This isn't your average wheelchair basketball player in question….he's a European Champion and World Champion….
The prosecution would like to note that the guy is standing on two legs.