Lifestyle & Belief

Full Frame: basketball on wheels


Full Frame features photo essays and conversations with photographers in the field.

When Gustavo Villafane was 9, he was hit by a train. He lost both his legs and one of his arms. Now Villafane is one of the best wheelchair basketball players in the world. He and his Argentine teammates are preparing for the Paralympic Games, to be held in November in Venezuela.

The adapted sport was born in 1940 in England. South America joined the movement in the 1950s after a polio epidemic swept through the region leaving many disabled. The sport is now played in more than 75 countries.

It aims to be as democratic as possible. The scoring system ensures that athletes with severe disabilities, including paraplegics, can participate on equal terms. Each player gets a score, ranging from one for the most affected players, up to 4.5 for those with a lesser disability. Each team must have 14.5 points on the court. They use the same ball as in Olympic basketball and the hoop is at the same height.

About the photographer:

Javier Heinzmann is a freelance photojournalist based in Argentina. After working for different newspapers and agencies, he decided to tackle the job doing independent work. His photos have been published in newspapers and magazines around the world.