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Deegan’s vision to show the world that a hinderance can be an asset

7 October 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: Rosie Deegan makes up one quarter of Australia’s Youth Olympic 3x3 Basketball Team for Buenos Aires 2018, but her style of play sets her apart from everyone else.

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scholarship holder was born with a degenerative eye condition, leaving her blind in her left eye and giving her a shooting style that is completely unique.

“As a kid, I started off with a lazy eye that just got progressively worse,” the 17-year-old said.

“Eventually my brain just didn’t want to use it anymore, so the neural pathways just shut down and stopped receiving any images from my left eye.

“When I was 13, I used to close my left eye and couldn’t notice a difference between it being open or closed,” she continued.

“I went to see an optician about contact lenses who told me there was no point getting a lens for my left eye because my brain doesn’t use it and I can’t see out of it, and that’s when everything started to make sense.”

Rossie Deegan club bball

For her basketball career, Deegan says that receiving the diagnosis was a blessing in disguise, because it meant she could shoot her own way.

“I’d always had a really unorthodox shot technique and my coaches would constantly try and get me to change it, when I just couldn’t.

“In likeness, you could compare my technique to NBA player, Lonzo Ball, because it involves a swing,” she said.

“I take the shot from my right side and swing it to my left, then release it from my left side with my right hand, so that way my right eye can still see the basket.

“When I was offered a scholarship at AIS, everyone assumed they would try and change my shot, because technically it’s not considered an effective shooting technique, but AIS along with Basketball WA have been so supportive,” the Perth local shared.

“They just let me take my shot the way I need to, even though it’s different. They don’t try and change my technique because it works for me, regardless of whether or not it’s considered technically sound.”

Deegan says she wants to encourage kids of all ages to not see their differences as hinderances, but as opportunities to adapt.

3x3 Team

Not only has this young athlete represented her country in basketball, she also plays in the AFLW, proving that limitations are only set by yourself.

“The most important thing is to not let yourself be weighed down by what other people say,” Deegan said.

“You will always have someone telling you to do things a certain way, but if you have the confidence in your own ability, then there is no restriction that can stop you achieving what you set your mind to.

“I also see it as a positive, because the way I play is unexpected by my competitors. They can’t read what I’m going to do because it’s different to what they’re used to, which is actually an asset for me,” the upbeat teen admitted.

“In basketball, technique is so important, there’s such a strict regime you need to follow to get the perfect shot and I’ve put a lot of work into perfecting mine. Some may see it as imperfect, but it got me to where I am today, the Youth Olympic Games, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”

You can follow Rosie’s Youth Olympic journey with her 3x3 teammates Alexandra Fowler, Ruby Porter, Sara-Rose Smith on olympics.com.au, and via our social media channels.

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Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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