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Houston woman to play basketball for Team USA at Tokyo Paralympics

Kaitlyn Eaton started playing wheelchair basketball at 5 years old. She was born with a condition where part of her spine missing.

HOUSTON — A Houston woman is competing in the highest level of her sport.

In just a few days, Kaitlyn Eaton will leave for Tokyo to play basketball for Team USA in the Paralympic Games.

“I’m excited. There’s still a lot to be done between now and then but I’m really, really excited, it’ll be fun," Eaton said.

Eaton has been playing wheelchair basketball since she was a little girl.

“I was born with a disability called sacral agenesis. Basically it’s a really long word for my spine didn’t grow all the way in the womb, so I’m missing my entire sacrum,” she said.

Peggy Turner with TIRR Memorial Hermann has been cheering Eaton on since she was 5 years old. She’s watched her hard work pay off. Eaton’s skills earned her a college scholarship a spot on the U.S. National Team.

“People can be inspired when they see someone with a disability in the community moving about, but her inspiration is not from moving about with a disability. It’s from her athletic and professional accomplishments,” Turner said. “If you have a dream in your heart and it’s too big to be denied, don’t let someone tell you you can’t, because you’re in a female, you’re in a wheelchair, or now you have a disability. Pursue that dream. Don’t give up. Don’t let COVID – a worldwide pandemic – stop you. Don’t let the defeat stop you from pursuing those dreams.”

Eaton is a perfect of example of that. Nothing stopped her from accomplishing her dream of becoming a Paralympic athlete.

“That’s what motivates me. I want to play with these girls. I’m playing with the 11 best girls in America right now. That’s awesome. Going to those practices and being able to play at such a high level right now – you really can’t beat it,” she said.

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