Rwanda: Former Hoops Player Rwampungu Is Now a Barber After Tragic Accident

It was in March 2015, when Kigali Basketball club players got involved in a fatal accident while traveling to Huye district for a game with the University of Rwanda Team.

The bus that was transporting the players collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction when it was trying to overtake another vehicle in a sharp corner.

The grizzly accident killed 13, including KBC's popular player at the time Jean Guy Rutayisire.

At least 15 passengers were injured and admitted to various hospitals.

Among these was Meshack Rwampungu who sustained injuries in his back that would not only end his basketball career, but also meant that he would later need a wheelchair to be able to move around.

Meshack Rwampungu in the saloon that he started to earn a living after sustaining injuries that ruined his Basketball career in 2015.

Not even the three months he spent admitted at King Faisal hospital could save his injured back, doctors said at the time.

However, by the time he was discharged, Rwampungu had gotten better, but a couple of things were not the same, for example, he was going to move in a wheelchair.

Realising that his basketball career had been shattered, and that there was no need to find a new way of earning a living, the 28 year old resorted to physiotherapy sessions that helped him gain more stability in his new state.

Setting up a barber shop

When Times Sport visited Rwampungu on Tuesday, April 20, he was seated in a wheelchair while coordinating activities at his Remera based barber shop.

During the interview, he asserted that while his business had just been recently established, the idea to own a hair salon was planned back in 2019.

"This business was established three weeks ago, but I had this idea since 2019," he added, "I've been shaving a few people at home for more than two years, not as a business but rather something I enjoyed doing on my own."

"As you can see it doesn't mean you will begin at full capacity. The idea was to begin and improve daily."

Despite a slow recovery from the injuries, Rwampungu says his business has largely been impacted by 'supportive' peers.

"After such a bad accident, most things are new, the body is new, cycling, pushing, it takes a lot of effort but you have to continue pushing and not give up on life. My former teammates have helped me regain my composure in this new life and most of them are my clients now," he said.

He adds that "I immediately felt confident that it was possible because these people were supportive and it was not just financial support even recommending people to come to my facility was great support."

Keeping the basketball dream alive

In an effort to keep his body in shape, Rwampungu says he has not given up on his basketball dream, especially given that the country established the Wheelchair Basketball sport at a national level.

In his capacity as the captain of the men's national team, he hopes to inspire young people across the country, especially disabled people not to give up their dreams and aspirations despite life's hindrances.

"When you have a problem like this, there are things you can't do, but there are things you can do, so I don't get discouraged by trying to figure out how to do it without being a burden on anyone, I want solutions. There were a lot of important things I lost in the accident but not everything I had and everything I had to give."

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