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Canada's Mutware using injury as catalyst for change through wheelchair basketball

Blaise Mutware has found what he calls his sanctuary — on the basketball court he's at peace.

But how he got there, now as a part of the Canadian men's wheelchair team, Mutware could have never imagined.

Nine years ago, his life would change forever at age 20. In what he describes as a robbery that went very wrong, Mutware was shot five times. 

"Guys decided to rob me. They are armed and I didn't know they were armed," said Mutware, who is making his second appearance at the Parapan Am Games for Canada, taking place in Santiago, Chile.

"I was trying to fight them off physically and one of them pulled out a gun and shot me five times — two in the spine, two in the legs, one in the arm."

He suffered a spinal cord injury and was told by doctors he would never walk again.

"Doctors told me the chances were slim to none. But I overcame that with rehab and wheelchair basketball," Mutware said. 

A year after his injury, Mutware found wheelchair basketball. Being on a court wasn't totally new since he played stand up basketball while growing up in South Africa and Zimbabwe before settling in Toronto at 13.

Instead of Mutware's injury ending his dreams of being an elite athlete, the 29-year-old used it to become a catalyst for change. 

The Canadians have started the Games undefeated after convincing victories over Chile and Venezuela. Mutware has played valuable minutes and scored in both games, including an eight-point effort in Sunday's 82-42 win over Venezuela.

The SMNT defeated Venezuela 82-42 on Sunday to improve to 2-0 at the Parapan American Games in Santiago.<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamCanada</a> | <a