Brett Stibners, or “Sticky” as his friends call him, is a hard working athlete and was a vital asset to the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games.
As a very talented able-bodied sportsman, Brett played indoor hockey for Australia at both Under 21 and just ten days after being selected for the senior team, he was involved in a head-on car crash after working all night while completing an apprenticeship.
Falling asleep at the wheel, Brett was lucky to be alive. He broke almost every bone from the waist down, had irreparable damage to his right leg and had to have his right leg amputated at the knee.
The severity of the accident meant that the 21-year-old spent four months in hospital before starting the long road to recovery, and was unable to return to his work or hockey. Having suffered anxiety and depression, it was with the help of his employer and the introduction to wheelchair basketball in 2003, that he found a new lease on life.
That year, he was selected to compete at the Gold Cup in Amsterdam and two years later, made his Paralympic debut in Beijing where the Rollers went on to win gold.
A dream come true, Brett was thrilled to reach the pinnacle of his sport within five years being introduced to the sport and names at his career highlight thus far.
Brett recalls the moment he knew he would win gold in Beijing. Before the Games had begun, the team had finished their training session on one of the courts behind the main arena when Brett saw officials practising the flag raising ceremony. Almost no flags were raised, but the Australian national anthem was playing. Brett and his now retired teammate Troy Sachs believed from that moment it was an omen of their imminent gold medal win.
A member of the Wollongong Rollers Hawks, Brett was instrumental in the team’s impressive winning streak since Beijing. Having won the 2010 World Championships, the team went to London 2012 to win silver and climbed back on top of the podium in 2014 claiming their second consecutive World Championships win.
Brett lists Brad Fittler and Andrew Bogut as his favourite sports stars. He admires Bogut’s style of play and likes his determination to win. Brett believes he is one of the lucky few in life that has reached his ultimate life goal; winning a Paralympic gold. While he is now focussing on Rio 2016, he says even if he won the lottery tomorrow, he would keep on doing what he is doing now.