Kevin Coombs

Coombs carries the Paralympic torch as part of the torch relay at the 2000 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Personal information

Full name
Kevin Richard Coombs


(1941-05-30) 30 May 1941 (age 75)
Swan Hill, Victoria



Wheelchair basketball

Kevin Richard Coombs, OAM[1] (born 30 May 1941) is an Australian wheelchair basketballer and athlete who competed at 5 Paralympics including the first Paralympic Games in 1960.[2][3] He was the first Australian Aboriginal Paralympic competitor for Australia.[2]


1 Personal
2 Sporting career
3 Contribution to the community
4 Recognition
5 Bibliography
6 Notes
7 References
8 External links


It was a really big effort because they [the medical team] didn’t know how we were going to travel – we didn’t know how we were going to travel either.

Kevin Coombs[4]
Coombs was born on 30 May 1941 in the Victorian town of Swan Hill, to Cecil Coombs and Rosie Clayton. After losing his mother at age five, he and his four siblings lived with relatives in the New South Wales town of Balranald.[5] He grew up in rural Victoria in a large family.[2][6] He became a paraplegic at the age of 12 when he was accidentally shot in the back while out shooting rabbits.[7] He spent time at the Royal Austin Rehabilitation Hospital in Melbourne where he was introduced to sport as part of his rehabilitation program.[7] One of the sports that he competed in was wheelchair basketball. He competed in the first Australian championships in 1960 and was then selected to compete at the 1960 Summer Paralympics.[7] Coombs only brought one wheelchair to the Paralympic Games, the wheelchair he used every day. His wheelchair weighed about 40 kilograms (88 lb).[8] Outside of sport, Coombs worked for the Victorian Department of Human Services until 2000. During his career with the Health Services he established the Koori Hospital Liaison Officer program, was the coordinator of the Koori Drug and Alcohol Program and was also Manager of the Koori Health Unit.[2] Before working at the Department of Health Services, Coombs worked for Community Services Victoria.[2] He is a Wotjobaluk Elder.[9]
Sporting career[edit]
Coombs was part of the Australia men’s national wheelchair basketball team at the 1960 Rome, 1968 Tel Aviv, 1972 Heidelberg, 1980 Arnhem and 1984 New York/Stoke Mandeville Paralympics.[10] He served as coach/captain a