Lowndes Co. teen with one hand signs to play college basketball

“I just had to keep chasing the ball. I had to keep playing.”

Good News: South GA student overcomes adversity through basketball

HAHIRA, Ga. (WALB) - A young man who has spent the past 7 years of his life without his hand is signing with a team to play college basketball.

Zach Nabers, 18, said he’s played basketball since he was a little boy, but said basketball wasn’t originally his first love.

“Right after my accident, it was like a switch. It was like forget football, I want to play basketball. I don’t know what happened in my head. It was just like football was out the window," said Nabers.

A young man who has spent the past 7 years of his life without his hand is signing with a team to play college basketball.
A young man who has spent the past 7 years of his life without his hand is signing with a team to play college basketball.

When Nabers was 11-years-old, he said he was in a boating accident that cost him his right hand.

A life-changing event that he said he wasn’t going to let stop him.

“I just had to keep chasing the ball. I had to keep playing," said Nabers.

But it wasn’t always that way.

“Me and mom broke down like, ‘it’s not working. Nothing’s working out like.. what am I going to do," said Nabers.

After his accident, Nabers said it took a lot of failing and struggling to learn to live with his new reality, but shooting came easier than a lot of other day-to-day tasks.

“Opening like a pill bottle, or tying your shoes—like it took me a long time to learn how to tie my shoes, so I think adjusting to that wasn’t that hard. It was just getting better at it," said Nabers.

Despite all the pain and frustration, he said the accident may have been a blessing in disguise, on and off the court.

“Having to work harder and having to like push myself harder than anybody else and what I’m competing at, it made me a better player and person," said Nabers.

Out of it came a story of resilience and a message.

“The sun comes up the next day and you just go again," said Nabers.

In the fall, Nabers is set to start his sophomore year, playing at Greenville University in Illinois.

Nabers attributed his ability to get where he is today to the support of his friends and family.

He said that he made a promise to his brother back when he was in the hospital that he would never give up.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.