Calgary wheelchair basketball player devastated by loss of customized chair

Dalten Campbell was planning to try out for the national Paralympic team this summer

Dalten Campbell is hoping thieves will return his customized basketball wheelchair so he can continue on the road to the Paralympic Games.

Dalten Campbell had high hopes of making the men’s national wheelchair basketball team, but now those hopes have been dashed after his customized wheelchair was stolen over the weekend.

“It’s my lifeblood,” he said. “I spend 3-4 hours training in it – without it, my training schedule has ground to a complete halt.”

The customized wheelchair that was taken. COURTESY CALGARY POLICE SERVICE

Campbell plays with the Calgary Grizzlies in the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League. He’s plays for the highest tier in the league, and he was gearing up for a camp at the end of July, which would be the first step towards earning an invitation to play on the national team.

Campbell said just borrowing a teammate’s chair isn’t really an option, because the chairs are customized extensions of the athletes.

“The setup of your chair is very, very important,” he said. “You want the chair to move with your body instinctively. You don’t want to have to think about it.”

Campbell said the chair cost between $7,000 and $8,000. It took over four months from the time he ordered it until its arrival.

Even after he got it, Campbell said he still spends almost as much time making adjustments as he does playing.

The modified stolen car. COURTESY CALGARY POLICE SERVICE

“Without the chair – I’m half the player I could be,” he said. “I’ve spent so many hours tinkering on that chair.”

Also lost in the theft was his silver 2006 Dodge Magnum RT.

Calgary police say the theft happened sometime between 10 p.m. on Friday, June 15, and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 16.

They’re asking anyone with information to call 403-266-1234, or to call Crime Stoppers Anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

The car was customized to allow Campbell to drive it.

“It was taken from a secure parking garage,” said Campbell. “It really just boggles my mind how someone was able to get in there and steal it.”

He just hopes the thieves realize the chair is almost useless to anyone but him, and leave it on the side of the road for someone else to find.

“After these last few years of really working my ass off, it’s devastating to me, honestly.”

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