Learning to play Basketball with your stoma

Sports are really a part of a culture.  This is a big part of how many of us learn to be who we are and how to succeed in life.  Sometimes it can be more complicated because of medical issues and sometimes that does not matter to the kids in the neighborhood.  You simply have to learn to adapt and win.  I grew up in the Midwest United States.  Now for some, that means I grew up around corn, politeness, and the bible belt. What it means to most of the people in sports is that I grew up in basketball country.  Myself, I come from the Hoosier state and that means everyone plays basketball.  It is a natural sport that everyone knows how to play.  I spent days, weeks, and literally months of my life playing basketball.  I found it kept me healthy and gave me many life lessons.  Winning, losing, and working with a team of different people teaches lots of lessons.  Now I find myself playing basketball a little less and with a little more ostomy supplies.  

Yes, I have a stoma and I still play basketball.  Never for a minute did I think I would stop having fun just because I have to take a bag around with me on my abdomen. So I wanted to share a few tips on things I have noticed help the most when I lace up my basketball shoes and get to hooping. 

Since Basketball is a contact sport the best way to succeed with a stoma is to protect it.  Having an ostomy shield is the only answer in my book and it kept me safe back then and keeps me safe today.  Also, make sure you are wearing the right clothing.  So does this mean I need to wear armor when I am on the basketball court? No, not at all. Instead just wear loose clothing, like most people do when they play basketball.  I prefer moisture wicking t-shirts and regular elastic basketball shorts.  Now I will try to purchase all my ostomy supplies in materials to match.  If my ostomy bag is not moisture-wicking then it will get very sweaty and leave a huge sweat stain on my shirt.  That is just a little weird and people will play the game differently when they are around you.  They won’t guard you as hard and its just annoying and everyone will make a fuss about it.  

Perception really does matter.  Now all my friends would never play me any differently, but new people are new and will always hesitate to guard a guy who may be carrying a bag of poo with him.  Honestly, I don’t blame anyone and I keep my spirits up and most people laughing.  Because hey, life and why not.  But I still like to avoid that situation and just play ball like normal and lose fitting moisture-wicking clothes help a lot.  I also add a belt to my attire. No not a dress belt or anything, but it’s basically a body band that goes around my abdomen to keep everything in place.  Find a good one and you will be able to run around just like normal.  Just make sure all your gear attaches well and has great lockups on your stoma. Now go outside and play some basketball! 

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