Reuven Heller, formerly the national wheelchair basketball coach, passed away this morning (Wednesday) at the age of 80, after an illness.
Heller, who was a basketball coach and the former professional director of the Ilan Spivak Ramat Gan Sports Center, was born with a medical problem in the hip bone and was therefore assisted by a wheelchair until the age of 5, which did not prevent him from later playing sports and becoming a goalkeeper for the Maccabi Haifa youth soccer team.
During his military service, he was sent to Tel Hashomer to help the physiotherapists who rehabilitated IDF wounded. He specialized in the field and was appointed commander of the convalescent department, a position in which he helped IDF wounded regain physical fitness.
Following his work with the disabled in the IDF, in 1965 he was offered to coach the wheelchair basketball team of Ilan Ramat Gan, and already on the first trip to the world championship, which was held in England, he led the team to win the championship and received the trophy from Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain. At the same time, he began working with the team Women's basketball, and during his 16 years as a basketball coach, he did not lose a single game.In the Paralympic games held in Israel in 1968, he led the team to a gold medal.
Heller made sure to direct disabled people to engage in sports and made sure to combine them with non-disabled athletes.
In 2000 he retired, and since then volunteered to work with children in Ilan Ramat Gan, and at the same time was involved in building a Paralympic archive.
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