Austin Hinchey, the Edmonton-based captain of his sitting volleyball team, overcame a major obstacle. Born with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones) concentrated in his left leg, he decided to get it amputated. He made this life-altering decision at age 11. Now, at age 23, he represents Canada in para competitions throughout the world. After developing a passion for volleyball in high school, he began playing competitively. He has been the captain for Team Canada’s Sitting Volleyball team since 2007.
Our team member Don with Canadian sitting volleyball captain Austin Hinchey after the 3-0 win over Mexico!#ParaTough #ParapanAmGames
In 2011, he and his sitting volleyball team won the bronze medal at the Guadalajara Parapan Am Games.
So what does he think about playing on home soil in the 2015 Parapan Am Games?
“It’s amazing to be playing in Canada. We (our current team) have only played one other event in Montreal every year, but we’ve never played something this big in Canada, and we have never had these kinds of fans in Canada. It’s really exciting for us and we’re really enjoy playing in front of the home crowd.”
Hinchey is so proud of his current roster that going to the 2016 Olympics in Rio is “the goal.” With an unbreakable attitude like that, his goal to go to Rio looks promising, especially with growing interest for sitting volleyball.
Before I wrapped my interview with Hinchey, I asked him if he had any advice for young people with disabilities who long to get into sports:
“I think the biggest thing is just to try and find a sport that you love, and to enjoy playing it. We play ultimately to have fun and to enjoy the sport (of volleyball), and especially if you’re an athlete that qualifies to play a Paralympic sport, just try to get involved. Most sports are inclusive and (organizers) are always looking for new people.”
You can find an organization near you to try out sitting volleyball: