Kevin Richard Coombs, OAM (born 30 May 1941) is an Australian wheelchair basketball legend who competed at 5 Paralympics including the first Paralympic Games in 1960. He was the first Australian Aboriginal Paralympic competitor for Australia.
Kevin is a Wotjobaluk Elder who was born in Swan Hill and raised in Balranald, New South Wales. He is much loved and respected by communities all over Australia for his work championing Aboriginal health and the needs and interests of people with disability. At 12 years of age, Kevin was left with paraplegia after being accidentally shot in the back while out hunting with his cousins. At the time, there was no specialised care for people with spinal injuries. Kevin developed bedsores while in a Swan Hill hospital and had to spend 12 months lying on his stomach to recover. The Austin Hospital in Melbourne became his home for the next 10 years, largely because there was nowhere else for him to go.
Kevin’s community service and Paralympic journey has been outstanding. The Red Dust Heelers team believe his story and leadership represents all they hope to inspire and encourage in all Australians as the team plays and works across Australia – courage, persistence, and the willingness to have a go – to dream, connect and make a difference. What is inspirational about Kevin’s story is how focused his life has been on making others’ lives easier, including people with disability, the homeless, those affected by alcohol and other drugs, and his community far and wide.
The Outback Academy Red Dust Heelers are very proud to have Kevin Coombs as their Patron and aspire to represent him to the best of their abilities.