Paralympics: Jake Williams Bike Accident, Age, Parents, Family

Professional wheelchair basketball player Jake Williams, 33, will compete for the United States in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. He has already competed for the United States in two Olympics before winning gold in both of them.

He was struck by a truck while riding his bike to work, leaving him paraplegic in his lower body. It will be his third time representing the United States.

Team USA qualify for the Paris Paralympics Including Jake Williams

The USA men’s wheelchair basketball team secured their spot at the upcoming 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris with an 81-45 victory over Colombia in the final of the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago.

Brian Bell and Jake Williams contributed significantly, with 23 and 24 points respectively.

“No better feeling than representing this great country with these colors.”

Jake said

Jake Williams Age, Parents, Education

Jake Williams was born on August 2, 1991, in Milwaukee, United States of America. He is the son of Carson Williams and Lisa Williams, Jake is currently 32 years old.

From a young age, Jake was always interested in sports and engaged himself in various types of sports. Jake used to play flag football in elementary school and basketball in middle school. In high school, before his injury, he was on the swim team and track team.

Jake Williams Early Years
Image: Jake Williams’s picture when he was 10 years old in 5th grade (Source: Jake’s Instagram)

Jake’s parents are always very supportive of him at every step of his life. After attending Southwest Minnesota State University for his first three years of college, he transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for his senior year. He saw an opportunity at Whitewater and set his mind on getting better. He figured that he could reach his goals if he was in a better basketball program.

Jake Williams Bike Accident and His Disability

On June 14, 2008, when Jake Williams was a rising high school senior, he was hit by a car while riding his bike to his job as a lifeguard. The accident severed his spinal cord, resulting in paralysis below his waist.

Jake’s father worked at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport with the father of Chris Okon, who was then playing for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (and later played for the national team). Okon visited Jake, gave him a local coach’s contact information, and Jake started playing wheelchair basketball a few months after his accident.

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The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater had started an adaptive sports program in 1973 and had invested in building a wheelchair basketball program, becoming dominant in the sport. In fact, at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics, five members of the U.S. gold medal-winning men’s wheelchair basketball team were UW-Whitewater alumni.

“Everything I have now, everything that I own is because of wheelchair basketball.”

Williams said.

When did Jake start his Basketball Career? Starting of Jake’s Basketball Journey

Jake Williams started his wheelchair basketball journey in 2007 after being introduced to the sport by a local player. He began playing just four months after the accident that left him paralyzed below the waist.

Less than two years after his injury, Jake went to college and started playing the game that became his new passion, even though he never thought he’d be able to attend college. He also won a national championship at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Mentally, it was more challenging. Jake made the Southwest Minnesota State team just one year after starting the sport. Around that time, he got his first in-person look at Brian Bell, a national team player who was a few years older. Jake says he was motivated by Bell and looked up to him as he worked to become a better player.

In 2013, Jake was invited to try out for the national team, and he made it.

Jake’s Accomplishments Before COVID

While attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Jake Williams made the national team for the first time in 2013, just five years after he started playing wheelchair basketball.

In 2014, Williams won the NWBA intercollegiate national championship as a member of the Warhawks Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team.

Williams then went on to win a gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.

In 2016, he helped lead Team USA to a gold medal victory at the Paralympic Games in Rio. Williams was the youngest player on the 2016 Paralympic team, and he scored a team-high 20 points in the gold-medal game, which the US won 68-52 over Spain.

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Williams continued his success in 2019 when he was the top scorer for the USA national team that won the Parapan American Games.

Williams is now the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s wheelchair basketball team, his alma mater.

Williams is a two-time Paralympic gold medalist, winning titles in both the 2016 Rio Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Jake’s Career after COVID

After the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, he captured a gold medal at the World Championships.

In the 2023 Parapan American Games, Williams led his team to their third Parapan gold medal. He stood out with the fifth-best shooting percentage of 50% and 37 assists (4.5 per game), placing him in the top 10 for that stat. This was the third Parapan American gold medal for the Milwaukee native, who had previously won in Toronto in 2015 and Lima in 2019.

Williams is currently playing professionally for the RSB Thuringia Bulls, the EuroCup Champions, in Germany. He is now also qualified for the 2024 Paralympics representing Team USA.

Williams is back at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and balancing his coaching duties with his training and preparation for the 2024 Paralympics, where he hopes to achieve a three-peat gold medal performance.