By Brandon Bieltz, University Communications, Monday, August 23rd, 2021
When Emma Schieck first started playing volleyball at age 7, not everybody thought that it was for her. Because of permanent nerve damage that prevents her from fully straightening and rotating her left arm, a sport like soccer might be more her speed, they said.
But Schieck loved volleyball from the first time she picked up a ball at an elementary school “try it sports day.”
“I loved it. It was the best time,” says Schieck, now a junior at Carolina. “I had to leave volleyball to go to the cheerleading session, and I remember in the middle of the session getting up and leaving, going out the back so I could go back to the gym and play more volleyball.”
She wasn’t going to let a physical disability get in her way. The suggestion that she couldn’t play has fueled her drive. She has played 13 years of standing volleyball, and, most recently, picked up sitting volleyball, the adaptative version of the sport.
Later this week, Schieck will officially reach the pinnacle of the sport she loves when she puts on a United States jersey at the Tokyo Summer Paralympics to compete on the U.S. sitting volleyball team.
“It’s such an indescribable feeling getting the phone call from my coach, getting to put on a USA jersey and be on the biggest stage that I’ll ever play on. It’s still setting in,” she says. “I cannot wait.”