BHM Wheelchair

Spotlight: Twila Adams

Erin Maher  |  February 1, 2018

Love may mean nothing in tennis, but for wheelchair tennis player Twila Adams, it’s the only way to describe how she feels about the game.


Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Adams entered the military upon completion of broadcasting school. She served the country for eleven years before returning home.


In 1994, tragedy struck. Twila was in a car crash, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors told her she would never walk again, and was categorized as a quadriplegic. 


The injury from the crash was physically devastating, but didn’t damper her spirit. “I’m still here, so I need to work on what I have,” Adams had told herself, as she adjusted to her life as a newly disabled woman.


Adams, who did not grow up playing sports but was very competitive and active in the military sought to continue leading the active lifestyle she had always led. 



In 2002, she became a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and began participating in their adapted sports programs.


At the urging of a fellow wheelchair athlete, Adams picked up a racquet for the very first time in 2011. 


“I had no concept of what tennis was,” Adams said. Despite her lack of knowledge, she took to the court with a tennis racquet taped to her hand. She didn’t manage to get one ball over the net. 


But that didn’t stop her. For a year, Adams would tape up her hand, and go to the court for hours, learning to get a tennis ball over the net. 


Adams’ persistence paid off. Soon, she was playing multiple times a week, and even invested in her own manual chair, and got the strength to push herself across the court. 


Nowadays, Adams can be found on the court twice a week. On Tuesdays, she hits with the Carolina Medical Adaptive Sports Program (ASAP) , and on Fridays, she joins the Carolina Rollin Rackets at the Rock Hill Tennis Center. 


Besides her regular practices, Twila competes regularly, and last year entered three tournaments. Most time, she has to play at a higher division, because there are not enough women that participate in the quad division. 


Off the court, Twila is a teacher, a Reiki healer and delivers mobile meals to those that are disabled. 


But tennis is still her first love, “I enjoy playing. When I get in that wheelchair and get to healing…it’s like flying.”



Related Articles