Kevin Coombs OAM

Inducted in 1974

Life Member Since 1974

A founding member of Wheelchair Sports Victoria (formerly the ParaVics Sports Club), now known as Disability Sport & Recreation (DSR) in 1960, Kevin continued his involvement with our organisation as an athlete, administrator and director for 25 years, before finally retiring in 2007.

A popular Wotjobaluk Elder, Kevin was Australia’s first Indigenous Paralympian and has continued to be a leader of his community in a number of advocacy roles. He grew up in rural Victoria and became a paraplegic at the age of 12 when he was accidentally shot while shooting rabbits. It was during his time at Austin Rehabilitation Hospital in Melbourne where he was introduced to wheelchair basketball as part of his therapy.

Kevin’s involvement in wheelchair basketball has spanned over 50 years as a five-time Paralympian (including two as Captain of The Rollers), a selector, commissioner and director and has had the Australian Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships named in his honor.

Kevin led Australia to a silver medal at the 1974 Commonwealth Games and later retired from National Competition in 1989 after competing in all National Championships since 1960.

Kevin has been a leading statesman of community, sport and disability services in Australia working in drug and alcohol programs and in various roles for the Victorian Department of Human Services. In 1983 he received a Medal of the Order of Australia “in recognition of service to sport for the disabled and to Aboriginal welfare.” He also received an Australian Sport Medal after being selected as a torch bearer for the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

Paralympics representing Australia

Wheelchair basketball:
• 1960 Rome, 1968 Tel Aviv, 1972 Heidelberg, 1980 Arnhem and 1984 New York/Stoke Mandeville Paralympics.
• Australian Wheelchair Basketball Coach/captain 1972.
• Australian Captain at the 1984 games.

Athletics:
• 1968 Tel Aviv and 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics.

Gold medal, wheelchair basketball 1977 Parramatta and 1982 Sha Tin FESPIC Games.

Silver medal, wheelchair basketball 1974 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Dunedin.

Representative roles:
• Aboriginal Representative on the Committee for International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD) in 1981.
• Chairman of the Committee for the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in 1986.
• Member of the Disability Advisory Committee for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2002.
• Member of the Indigenous Committee for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
• Ambassador for the National Indigenous Strategy for Literacy and Numeracy.
• Coach of the Victorian Junior team.

Recognition of service:
• 1983 – Medal of the Order of Australia “in recognition of service to sport for the disabled and to Aboriginal welfare”.
• 2007 – inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.
• 2011 – the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services named a meeting room in his honour.
• 2012 – inducted into the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll.
• 2016 – inducted into the Australian Paralympic Hall of Fame.
• 2016 – the Uncle Kevin Coombs Medal for the Spirit of the Games was awarded for the first time at the • • • Australian Paralympic Committee awards.
• We named DSR's head office in Fitzroy in Kevin’s honour.
• Australian Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships named in his honour.

Kevin Coombs OAM