Bonita businessman shows others how to bounce back from life’s challenges
Mario Castro was just 16 when a car accident forced him to rely on a wheelchair for mobility. “When you get hurt, you need to find yourself again, and just to get over the feelings of ‘I can’t believe this happened to me,’ and learn to be able to function in everyday life,” the Bonita businessman says of rebounding from the initial shock of his 1997 traffic accident.
A high school basketball player, soon Castro was back on the court, now as a member of the Gulf Coast Barracudas, a wheelchair basketball team. Today, Castro is a seasoned player and advocate for those overcoming physical challenges. “Basketball is great exercise and it’s great for people to be able to play again and have that competitive spirit,” he says.
Wheelchair availability shouldn’t limit involvement, he says: “We can provide a chair for use on the team.”
The wheelchair team is for those with disabilities age 16 and up. Practices are Tuesdays (6 to 9 p.m.) and Sundays (9 to 11 a.m.) at the Estero Recreation Center. “It’s amazing to realize how competitive the team is,” says Castro, noting the Barracudas play FGCU basketball teams and others in wheelchair challenges. Most are surprised by the difficulty, he says.
In addition to his work with the Gulf Coast Barracudas, Castro, the owner of Audio Interventions in Bonita Springs, speaks frequently on disability issues. He also visits Shriners Hospitals for Children. Showing kids how he has been able to accomplish his goals, says Castro, makes him seem like a “superhero to them.”
Dana Mirman is a freelance writer and television producer.
Mario Castro (above) often talks to kids about disability issues. FGCU hoopsters (below left) are surprised by the difficulty of playing seated. Practice (below right) is at the Estero Rec Center.