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Flyer wows despite illness

  • Flyer wows despite illness

Napier leads the way on the court

LACING up his boots before tip off, Swan Hill Flyer Aaron Napier also attaches a medical brace around his stomach before the Men's side makes their return to the Country Basketball League on Saturday.

The 29-year-old took to the court as one of the most experienced players in the CBL tournament, and head coach Kane Sparks enlists Napier to help steer the ship.

On the court, he is a mentor. Off the court, he is an inspiration.

Napier has suffered from Crohn Disease since he was 10 years, an incurable inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract.

"I got an ileostomy (a surgical opening in the stomach to assist in treatment) when I was 17," he said.

Despite this, the guard still dropped 13 points for his side, leading the way, with a three-point shot to finish the match.

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"It doesn't affect me but it can affect other people in their day to day life, routine," Napier continued.

"It can affect in that it could be uncomfortable depending on what position I am."

Napier had to give up his job as an electrician to stay comfortable, with certain positions causing him grief.

He found a new job in a bank, but has never let his Crohns hold him back from playing sport.

"In the last few years, it really hasn't affected my sport and I haven't let it either," he said.

"If I want to do something, I find a way how to do it, not I can't do it, and I think about that when it comes to sport.

"I can wear protection around my stomach and it does not hurt when I get hit."

While Napier will continue his role as an on court leader, off the court he is helping other suffers come to terms with their illness.

He began an association with Melbourne's St Vincent's hospital when he was 17, a partnership which continues.

Napier said he spoke regularly with sufferers about their illness and upcoming procedures.

"What I do about understanding, I am part of the St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne," he said.

"I have a very optimistic approach toward the illness and the doctors get me to call people who have been diagnosed.

"I have conversation with them talking about how it doesn't affect my life too much, I can find a way around it."