Akeem Hassell gives advice to fellow wheelchair basketball player Jillian Weidner, 14. Hassell, a member of the Triangle Thunder team and a wheelchair basketball player since he was nine-years-old, has been her coach since she started playing wheelchair basketball a few years ago. Hassell found purpose in playing wheelchair basketball as a child and as an adult he spends much of his time coaching the junior varsity wheelchair basketball team and serving as a mentor to young athletes. “I was always the one to help with the younger boys that had anger problems or hygiene issues, they could talk to me about anything. I was more than a coach, bigger than a mentor,” he says. “A lot of people use sports to be healthy, stay in shape, to have a general sense of well-being, or to be competitive. For me, all the above apply.”