Aj Fitzpatrick Age, Family, Disability, and Biography

Olympic athlete Aj Fitzpatrick, 19, will compete for the United States in the upcoming Paris Paralympics in 2024. He has already competed for the United States of America at the PARAPAN American Games 2023, winning a gold medal. He was born with a disease that prevents him from controlling his lower body.

AJ was Selected for his debut in the Olympics representing The USA

AJ Fitzpatrick was chosen to make his first appearance in the Paralympics representing the United States of America. Dreams are turning into reality as Fitzpatrick and Jourdan are on their way to the Paralympic Games this summer, accompanied by their coach Williams.

AJ Fitzpatrick and Talen Jourdan are current players on the Warhawk men’s wheelchair basketball team, and Jake Williams, a former Warhawk player, is now the head coach of the men’s team. They are all part of the men’s national team. The American men’s wheelchair basketball team won the gold medal at the 2023 Parapan American Games in Chile by defeating Colombia with a score of 81-45 last summer. This victory helped the team qualify for the 2024 Paralympics.

ā€œIā€™m super excited and just thankful for everybody that supports us.ā€

AJ said.

AJ Fitzpatrick’s Family and Education

AJ was born in the year 2005 in Cedar Rapids, Los Angeles. His family has been involved with SportAbility, an organization that provides adapted sports programs since AJ was 6 years old. They have participated in camps and activities designed for individuals with disabilities.

AJ is working extremely hard to achieve his dreams. His family calls him a “gym rat” because he feels most comfortable in the gym, dedicating himself to his training.

Now, at 19 years old, AJ uses a wheelchair. For him, the wheelchair is a tool that he has mastered to an exceptional level, just like a piano is a tool for a concert pianist.

Aj Fitzpatrick with his National Teammates
Image: Aj Fitzpatrick with his Whitewater Teammates (Source: UW Whitewateer)

AJ Fitzpatrick is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is currently studying human performance as his major and strength and conditioning as his minor.

After graduating from high school last year, AJ is paying his own way through college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he plays on the Warhawks Wheelchair Basketball team.

What caused AJ Fitzpatrick’s Disability

AJ was born with a condition called arthrogryposis, which cannot be cured. This condition affects the lower part of his body, causing the joints in his muscles to become stiff and have limited movement. The joints are fixed in bent or twisted positions. His mother, Elizabeth Bekeris, was told that AJ would never be able to walk and would have to use a wheelchair for his entire life. However, as a baby, AJ either did not hear this devastating news or had the wisdom to ignore it.

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After using a walker for a couple of months, AJ started walking on his own, with only the help of leg braces. He continued walking without assistance until around the first grade. But as he grew taller and his upper body continued growing, it became impossible for him to support his weight. At that point, he started using arm crutches. He did not need any lessons and immediately picked up on how to use them, even starting to do handstands with the crutches.

AJ, who has arthrogryposis, loves to play with his friends. But he also knows when and how to take things seriously, enough to play at a higher level.

How and AJ Fitzpatrick start his wheelchair Basketball career?

In 5th grade, AJ was getting restless and really loved sports, but his family thought they did not have any options for him. His sister Abby researched online and found Sportability of Iowa – a non-profit organization that raises money for people with physical disabilities to participate in adapted sports. They attended an open gym event where Sportability was presenting, and that is where AJ’s love for wheelchair basketball began.

AJ Fitzpatrick during his Early Career
Image: AJ Fitzpatrick during his Early Career (Source: AJ’s Facebook)

He could not get enough of it. So the family started going every week, where the little 5th grader would play basketball against a whole group of grown men, and they did not go easy on him. They played just as hard against him as they did with each other.

AJ has been playing wheelchair basketball for the past 8 years, inspiring others to try it too, including his younger cousin Aiden. Aiden is apparently following the same path to become a star on the court.

AJ Fitzpatrick has been on the Rolling Panthers team from the beginning. Fitzpatrick picked up the sport after he realized he “doesn’t want to be lazy.”

As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, AJ earned Intercollegiate Division All-Rookie Team honors.

AJ Fitzpatrick is the youngest player called up in the USA National Team

AJ made his first-ever appearance on the USA men’s national wheelchair basketball team in 2023 for the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile. In his very first game representing his country, he won a gold medal.

At just 18 years old, Fitzpatrick was the youngest of the 26 players selected to join the national teams of the United States.

Fitzpatrick competed internationally for the first time after earning a spot on the Intercollegiate Division All-Rookie Team as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the 2022-23 season.

AJ, along with his current UW-Whitewater teammates William and Talen Jourdan, recently won gold medals in men’s wheelchair basketball as part of Team USA at the 2023 Parapan American Games. This victory qualified the team for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

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At the Parapan Games, the USA men’s basketball team also won convincingly with a score of 81-44 over Puerto Rico. Retired Marine Lance Corporal Jorge Salazar scored 16 points in that game. It was also the game where newcomer AJ Fitzpatrick scored his first international basket, finishing with 8 points.

AJ Fitzpatrick and Senior Talen Jourdan are currently playing on the Warhawks men’s wheelchair basketball team at UW-Whitewater.

AJ and the teams he has played on have accumulated an impressive collection of trophies and awards.

The players will attend training camps throughout the summer to prepare for the Paralympic Games.