Two Tucson men play in World Team Cup for wheelchair tennis

Refusing to lose - local man plays wheelchair tennis at World Cup

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Jason Keatseangslip was born and raised in Tucson and has been playing tennis since he was a kid, however, his life changed when he was just 17 years old.

During school, he was practicing repelling when he fell 40 feet and broke his back. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

“The prospect of playing tennis definitely wasn’t super appealing at the time,” said Keatseangslip.

He suffered from nerve pain in his legs until he got surgery to fix them. Then, his life really changed. He could play tennis again.

“I remember the first time when I tried wheelchair tennis. I couldn’t even move, and now…I can play with my standing friends, and hit winners past them too,” said Keatseangslip.

This year, he was selected to be part of a four-man team to represent the US in the World Team Cup, an international competition for wheelchair tennis in Israel.

“(I) picked up more hours on the court. I was hitting on the weekend,” said Keatseangslip.

He trained more than five days a week, at the gym and on the court. The US team placed 8th, but they were very proud of their accomplishments. The year before, they placed 15th.

“On one hand it’s not fun losing,” said Keatseangslip. “On the other hand, I have to be thankful that one, I’m alive, and two, that I can travel and go out there and compete."

The men’s team had another member from Tucson, Bryan Barten. He competed on the quad team. Because the team placed 8th, they automatically qualify for the competition in 2020.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.