Meet Evan Heller
Scout, Division I and Team USA Athlete, Champion
For Evan Heller, perseverance isn't just a choice, it's a mindset. Evan is a former Scout from Wooster who has overcome incredible challenges to achieve his dreams.
Born with spina bifida and congenital heart disease that required open heart surgery, perseverance in the face of adversity has been a constant in Evan Heller’s journey. Applying lessons he learned in Scouting, and with unwavering support of his family, Evan earned an athletic scholarship to play wheelchair basketball for Auburn University. In December of 2021, Evan reached his next goal of playing for Team USA Men’s Under 23 and will represent our country in international competitions. He has recently been invited to try out Team USA at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs with a chance to make the Paralympic team.
Spina bifida is a birth defect that affects the spinal cord and
makes walking a challenge. Evan did not let that stop him
from becoming a successful High School and Division I college
athlete. An accomplishment many believed unattainable.
Evan's journey to becoming a college athlete is unique. He
was a founding member of the Wooster wheelchair basketball
team and later joined a travel team called the Jr. Wheelchair
Cavaliers, a team that is part of the National Wheelchair
Basketball Association (NWBA). Joining the Jr. Wheelchair
Cavaliers soon made him one of the most sought-after college recruits in the Nation. Being a natural-leader, Evan led his High School team to a 54-0 record and three state titles. Evan found a home at Auburn University. He describes Auburn as an "everything" school with strong academics and athletic programs, as well as a sense of family. "Everyone here cares about everyone else, and I wanted to be part of that," says Evan.
Through Scouting, Evan discovered his competitive fire with the Pinewood Derby and later channeled that winning mentality to archery at summer camp. "The smothering heat of that summer didn’t get in my way; I loved the feel and the power of the draw, aim, and shoot, and as my skills grew, so did my confidence," says Evan. Later Evan volunteered at camp to help younger Scouts at the archery range. This grew into a passion to teach others which Evan is now pursuing at Auburn where he is studying special education. Evan made the United States Men’s Under 23 National wheelchair basketball team after an intense selection process consisting of two selection camps held at the Lakeshore Paralympic / Olympic training facility in Birmingham Alabama. Below is a press release by the sport’s governing body, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Evan and Team USA will be competing in Playa del Carmen, Mexico from March 8-12, 2022. Eventually he plans to play professionally in Europe before beginning a career that fulfills another lifelong goal.
NWBA press release: