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Prairie’s AJ Fitzpatrick signs to play wheelchair basketball at UW-Whitewater

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:58 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Prairie’s AJ Fitzpatrick made it “official” at Prairie’s spring signing day.

The senior will play wheelchair basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the collegiate division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

“This sport is amazing, whenever I wake up I come (to school), I put some shots up before first period, which is gym, so I’m already in the gym,” Fitzpatrick said.

AJ, who has arthrogryposis, loves to play with friends. But he also knows when and how to take things seriously, seriously enough to play it at the next level.

“It’s a lot of fun being able to play with my friends in the morning,” Fitzpatrick said. “Then after school I like to go into the gym too, put some shots up by myself.”

College might not even be too hard for AJ, he’s already played with the best in the world. He plays with and against Paralympians on his current NWBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

His soon-to-be coach, AJ Messmer, came down to Iowa for the signing. He said AJ might not be far behind the international stars.

He’s crazy athletic, he works so hard,” Messmer said. “I think he could be on the Paralympic team.”

All that’s left for AJ is hard work.

“It’s just gonna be up to him to put that work in,” Messmer said. “Knowing him I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue.”

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