Darren Skuse DOB: 19/7/1983 Sport: Wheelchair Basketball Education: Bachelor of Science (Environmental) Darren is the kind of person always ready for a challenge. At the age of 13 he was diagnosed with a bone tumour in his right leg and with a never say die attitude fought the battle of his life over 3 years of intense treatment including chemotherapy and many operations. As a result Darren had his right leg amputated below the knee in December 1999. Before Darren was diagnosed with cancer he was very active and sport was a major part of his life playing AFL, swimming and mountain biking. He tried to continue as much as this as possible during his treatment but had not been able to compete with a team in nearly 4 years in any sport. He was desperate to get back into team sport as soon as he had his leg amputated which had been holding him back. In March 2000 Darren started playing wheelchair basketball.
Darren while undergoing treatment also completed all his schooling still achieving high grades even though many days were missed due to hospital stays and the effects of the cancer treament. He finished his Higher School Certificate in 2002 and was accepted into the University of Sydney in 2003 studying for a Bsc(Environmental) which he recently completed in December 2005 with a high credit average.
This young man while juggling Basketball and University also has given back to the community in many ways including work done with the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia (CCIA) with which he believes he may not be here with us today if it was not for the work that the CCIA does to increase the survival rate of childhood cancer. Darren is also a volunteer fire fighter with the Rural Fire Service in his home town of Heathcote in the Sutherland Shire.
He participates in regular training days and also hazard reduction burns with the brigade and is on active firefighting duty. Darren is one very determined and motivated young man with a hard work ethic. When he began to play basketball he came along in leaps and bounds. He first played in the Sydney local leagues then moving up playing with the Wollongong Roller Hawks in the debut season and the for the following four years he remained playing with Wollongong winning one National League Championship with the team.
In 2005 Darren moved to the West Sydney Razorbacks for development reasons and through more hard work and the coaching and guidance of Gerry Hewson (ex paralympian) and Troy Sachs (current paralympian) was a key member in the Razorsbacks National Championship victory in 2005. In 2005 Darren averaged 18ppg and 10 rebounds per game. Darren has also represented his country at various tournaments and made his debut with the Australian Men’s Rollers Team in Manchester in May 2005. He was also a key player in the Australian U23’s Team who competed in the World Junior Championships in Birmingham in August 2005. The team finished overall 3rd with Japan and USA finishing 2nd and 1st respectively.
He also played as an import in the New Zealand National Tournament in 2005 receiving MVP for the tournament. It was while playing in Birmingham, England Darren was scouted by the Head coach of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (UWW) wheelchair basketball team and was asked go to the USA to play with UWW Warhawks college team and has accepted this opportunity with excitedly. This is Darren’s next big challenge which will see him head off to the states in September to begin a journey of education in both study and basketball which he believes will lead him to a permanent position in the Australian Men’s Team and will be key in fulfilling Darren’s dreams and goals of representing Australia at the 2008 Paralympics.