How did Nate Hinze Beat Cancer? His Age, Wife and Family Life

Professional wheelchair basketball player Nate Hinze will compete for the United States in the next Paralympics in Paris in 2024. He has already won bronze and gold as an American representative in the Paralympics in 2015 and 2021. Having overcome cancer, he is highly committed to his sports and loves the activity that kept him from giving up on his desire.

Cedar Grove native and cancer survivor Nate Hinze strives for another gold at the Paris Paralympic Games

Cedar Grove native and cancer survivor Nate Hinze aims to win another gold medal at the upcoming Paris Paralympic Games. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association and the High-Performance Team Selection Committee chose the players after hosting the 2024 U.S. Selection Camp last weekend at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The USA team won 81-45. This victory added another gold to their impressive collection of titles and also secured their spot at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Nate Hinze, along with Natalie Schneider, Becca Murray, Jake Williams, John Boie, and Paul Schult, displayed exceptional skill, hard work, and resilience in their previous performances, earning them a place on Team USA once again.

“This is definitely a special moment.”

Hinze said.

Nate Hinze Age, Parents, Father, Mother, High School and Education

Hinze was born on June 12, 1988. He is 35 years old as of 2024. His parents are Ron and Patti Hinze. He has one sister named Melissa Hinze and one brother named Chad Hinze. When Nate was in high school at Cedar Grove-Belgium High School, he loved playing sports and being part of a team.

Hinze with his wife and Friends
Image: Hinze with his wife and Friends (Source: Nate’s Instagram)

As a child, Nate was very active. He was always running around, playing sports, and doing activities with a ball. Nate says his brother and parents were very supportive and encouraging during difficult times in his life. Nate has a master’s degree in educational leadership.

He is the athletic director and also works as an assistant principal at Port Washington High School. Currently, Nate is an assistant principal at Port Washington High School.

How Nate Hinze Faced Cancer

In the spring of his junior year in high school, Nate had a bump on his leg that he thought was an old injury from playing football. He got it checked with an X-ray and then an MRI. The doctors told him he had osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer in the long bones of the leg. It was only about two or three weeks between the first X-ray and when he started chemotherapy treatment. One week he was playing high school basketball, and three weeks later at age 16, he began chemotherapy.

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Nate went through nine months of chemotherapy. The doctors did major surgery on his right leg to remove the bone tumor. He now has a titanium knee replacement and titanium rods in his leg in place of his tibia bone. Essentially, he has a prosthetic leg covered by skin. At the start of treatment, being young, Nate thought he would recover and play basketball his senior year. He did not realize at that time that he would not be able to play regular basketball again.

Nate is happily Married to his wife Ashley Martin

In 2013, Nate got married to Ashley Martin. They have three children together. Ashley Martin is a top runner who has competed in many marathon races.

Nate with his wife and childrens
Image: Nate with his wife and children (Source: Nate’s Instagram)

As a husband and father of three kids, Nate looks forward to spending more time with his family. He does not have to leave for weeks at a time for training or competitions anymore. Now, he can focus on activities like tee-ball and swim lessons with his children.

Life after defeating Cancer

After beating cancer, Nate used to play some wheelchair softball for fun, but he liked basketball more. Nate started playing wheelchair basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2006 when he went there for his education degree. He found wheelchair basketball by chance. Feeling bored, he went to the wheelchair basketball office and asked if he could help out as a manager, keep stats, be a water boy, or do anything to get out of his dorm and meet new people.

Nate after successfully defeating Cancer
Image: Nate after successfully defeating Cancer (Source: Children’s Winconsin)

It turned out that UW-Whitewater had 1 of only 8 college wheelchair basketball teams in the nation at that time. This is where Nate’s path to the Paralympics began, and he has not looked back since. They told Nate to think about it over the weekend. When he returned on Monday, they said he could not be the manager – because they wanted him to play on the team.

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Nate began playing wheelchair basketball in 2006 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. As one might expect, Nate picked up wheelchair basketball fairly quickly. He learned the rules, understood the strategies, and worked hard to build up his upper body strength to compete with the bigger players in the basket.

How Nate Hinze Became a professional Wheelchair Basketballer and represented USA

Within a few years, Nate was competing at a high level in wheelchair basketball. In 2009, he had a breakthrough when he was chosen to play for the USA national team. At that time, Team USA was rebuilding after going to two straight Paralympic Games without winning any medals.

In 2011, Nate graduated from UW-Whitewater. It was his first year teaching in Ripon, and he made the Para Pan-Am team. The school in Ripon supported him and let him take two weeks off in November. He established himself as someone who would consistently be part of the team.

Nate won a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships and returned to the Paralympic team in 2016. He was part of a youth movement that led to a bronze medal finish for the USA men’s team in London 2012, followed by a gold medal in Rio 2016 – the first gold for the US men’s wheelchair basketball team in 28 years. 2016 was also the year Nate earned his master’s degree from UW Oshkosh.

Nate’s Paralympic medals are bronze from London and gold from Rio and Tokyo. He has been to three Paralympics and won three medals.

After the 2020 Tokyo games were delayed to 2021 due to the pandemic, the USA team won gold again by defeating Japan on September 5th. This secured Nate’s third Paralympic medal and second gold.

Nate has now been selected for the USA national wheelchair basketball team again and is training hard for the elite competition coming up.