2024.0314 Dwayne Veney NEWS

Hard Work and Speed

Written By: Dwayne Veney, Sportable Athlete and Board Member

I had always been fast. In high school, I ran the 400-meter dash and had a PR of 57 seconds. Whether it was track, football, or basketball, my teammates knew they could count on my speed. I wasn’t just a three-sport athlete in high school, I also worked in the family HVAC business—after school, all summer. If I wasn’t doing homework or at practice, I was working.

Three months after my injury, I started weightlifting. In a time when my life felt out of control, focusing on my health was a way for me to regain some control. Working out felt good. I was living in Newport News and I had my first wheelchair basketball experience with the Virginia Beach-based Sun Wheelers (they later moved to Hampton). I vividly remember that first practice, shooting hoops in my everyday chair. I fell in love with it that day. The cardio is amazing, but the fun you have makes you forget the effort.

Despite my strong work ethic and athletic background, wheelchair basketball wasn’t a sport I immediately excelled at. I rode the bench for a few years, but I always went to practice. Always put in the work. Over time, my teammates came to rely on me for my long-range shooting skills. My consistency. And, of course, my speed.

Returning home to the Northern Neck in Lancaster County made sense for me. My family and my girlfriend, Irene (now my wife), provided immense support after my injury. If self-pity had been in my nature, my family wouldn’t have allowed it. But it wasn’t in my nature, and I got to work and not just on my physical health. My brother and I took charge of running the family business, Veney’s Heating and Air Conditioning.

More than twenty years later, our business has experienced exponential growth. I work 60 to 70 hours a week and practice basketball or work out 3 to 4 times a week. Hard work pays off in business and in sports. Our company now employs 70 people and our profits have doubled in just the last two years.

When I'm not working on growing our family business or playing wheelchair basketball, I’m busy building investment properties as a Class A Builder. Irene and I developed a 4-acre lot that now holds three duplexes with a total of six two-bedroom units—each one accessible. This year, our family will start construction on 14 townhouses, six of which will be wheelchair accessible. That was important for me because I know from experience there is a significant lack of accessible housing.

I’ve played in the Wheelchair Basketball National Championships over 10 times and have been named to the Class 1 All-Tournament Team twice. Although I’m no stranger to this event, I am more excited about the 2024 Wheelchair Basketball Nationals which will be held at the new Henrico Sports & Events Center than any other I’ve played in. Having Nationals in my team’s hometown is a dream come true.

I am thrilled that my friends and family will be able to see me play locally. They will also witness some of the world’s best wheelchair basketball players in action. At 43 years old, when I’m out on the court competing against Paralympic basketball players, I aim to stand out. I want my team to stand out. I would love for the Rim Riders to secure a spot in the Finals. To get there will take a lot of hard work and speed, two things I bring to everything I do. My teammates are among the best. We intend to keep some hardware right here in Richmond.


Don't miss the action when the 2024 NWBA Wheelchair Basketball National Championships come the state-of-the-art Henrico Sports & Events Center. Cheer on the Sportable Spokes Junior Varsity team April 4-6 and then catch Dwayne and the Sportable Riders with the adult Division I, II, and III teams compete for national titles April 12-14. 

Get tickets >> Sportable.org

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