Ryan Morich is a founding member of the Red Dust Heelers – Wheeling and Healing Program and also Captain of the Red Dust Heelers Adelaide National Wheelchair Basketball Team. Outback Academy, Executive Director Clare O’Kelly says of Ryan – “Ryan has taken the leadership challenge very seriously. He has grown into the role to the point where he can now present to and hold the attention of an audience consisting of Aboriginal and business leaders. He is a great asset to the Wheeling and Healing program and of course an important member of the Red Dust Heelers leadership team. His willingness to push his personal boundaries has seen him take up fantastic opportunities in employment and international wheelchair basketball.”
Well I was born in Karratha in 94, but only spent a few years there, moving down to Perth to start pre-primary…short story only because I don’t remember much haha
Yeah, well I lived with my mum, dad and brother up until high school. But since then it’s just become my mum and I… I owe a lot to my parents, my mum especially, amazing woman, she and my dad have made me who I am today and I thank them for it.
I lost my leg below the knee due to a rare bone cancer (Ewing’s Sarcoma) back when I was 12 years old. It was lucky actually, as I spent 2 years being misdiagnosed with severe growing pains and then a further 3 misdiagnoses in hospital with what the doctors though was a bone infection. So after 3 months and 7 surgeries, a new doctor found the tumor in my heel after an MRI scan.
A few months after I lost my leg in hospital, Justin Eveson’s mum came and visited me in hospital and told me about wheelchair basketball and where Justin has gone with it… I went to my first training session maybe two or three weeks after that, and have been playing ball ever since.
Pretty devastated to be honest, because I was always sporty beforehand. I was a sprinter in primary school, a sports captain and excelled at most sports, so having my leg amputated looked like it wouldn’t give me much option to continue with sport afterwards.
Yeah, Justin’s mum definitely made my hospital stay a bit happier, knowing that there was something I could move on to.
I’d have to say the mateship, just because I know a whole bunch of new people, I’ve met people from all around the world who I can connect with socially….Also the fitness, I like maintaining my fitness.
Oh! A training mask! Which you wear over your nose and mouth and it makes it harder for you to breath, so you’re basically working with less oxygen.
Pretty full on yeah haha
Definitely two things come to mind, one was going to Turkey and competing in the Under 23s World Championships with 11 other amazing dudes and winning bronze there, that was a huge highlight of my life. Also playing for the Red Dust Heelers. Moving to the Red Dust Heelers is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I think it can only take me further in basketball. So not only is it a personal move to a team where I can improve my game, but also I am representing my heritage as an Aboriginal player. Being a part of the Red Dust Heelers I have gained work through the Outback Academy’s connections and support. They helped me to put my name forward onto the Wharfs in Henderson, near Fremantle…Work started 3 or 4 months ago and I’ve been working there almost every day for the last 3 months.
Yes, I’ve managed to save probably half, if not more, of what I need for my trip to Alabama for 4 years as I’ve recently been given a scholarship to go play basketball with Jannik Blair, one of the Aussie Rollers and study over there for 4 years.
It feels amazing, being able to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Coombs, being the first Aboriginal person to play wheelchair basketball at the Paralympics, and to be the first Aboriginal player to go and play over at an American college is just a great thing.
Oh several things! I can’t come away, without leaving something there.
I’m looking forward to being able to play basketball every day. It’s something I haven’t been able to do much in Australia because of other commitments, family work…but over in Alabama I get to focus on study and focus on basketball.
It’d be training in the morning from 6 – 8 30am and then go to classes during the day and then study and do more of my own training sessions.
I imagine they are pretty torn…whilst my mum mostly is excited for me to be going, I think she is also a bit sad I’ll be going too, because it will be the longest time I’ve been away from home… I’m sure we will Skype every few days.
My philosophy is you can learn from your past, but you can’t live in it.
Well, my work roster is 13 days on, 1 day off, 12 hours a day, so that takes up most of my waking hours outside of basketball…but otherwise I am reading or messing around on my computer or seeing mates.
Dancing?! Oooh yeah why not? haha