Basketball Player Excels Despite Having Scoliosis
Saturday, March 14 2009 – Peter Applebombe – The New York Times
You would not have trouble coming up with reasons to be skeptical about Tiffara Steward’s prospects as a college basketball player. She’s all of 4-foot-6 and 90 pounds, too small to get on some amusement park rides, often handed the children’s menu at restaurants. She’s blind in her right eye, which has no cornea. She’s partly deaf. She was born three months premature, weighing 2 pounds 15 ounces. She has scoliosis, which left one leg shorter than the other. Some of her vertebrae didn’t develop properly. She had six operations by age 3.
And in her blue jeans, black vest and Size 1 Air Jordans, bouncing a ball on the rubberized court where the Farmingdale State Rams play on Long Island, she could be mistaken for someone’s kid sister who managed to sneak into the gym. Yet, throughout the Rams’ 18-10 season, fans were treated to the spectacle of this little blur hounding opposing ball handlers, hoisting up threes, running the point.
Believed to be the shortest college basketball player, Steward, a 20-year-old junior, nonetheless was a starter and a co-captain of a team that made it to the Skyline Conference Championship (losing to Mount St. Mary College) and to the second round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s Division III tournament (Lehman College). Even in Farmingdale’s one game against a Division I team, an 85-25 dismantling by the Big East power Rutgers University, she hit a three-pointer — to a standing ovation in Rutgers’s gym.
Rick Kaselj – [email protected]
Registered Kinesiologist Specializing in Injury Rehabilitation
Surrey, BC, Canada
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