Logan Saenz knew that he wanted to play for the Movin’ Mavs, The University of Texas at Arlington’s wheelchair basketball team. The problem for Saenz, a 2015 Frisco High School graduate, was that he was new to the sport and trying out for a powerhouse program.
So despite his enthusiasm, Saenz didn’t make the active roster when he first tried out a year ago. He did, however, make some history with a program that has won eight National Wheelchair Basketball Association intercollegiate titles.
Saenz became the Movin’ Mavs first “redshirt” player, which meant he wouldn’t play but could practice and learn with the team during the season.
“I had never had a redshirt before,” Movin’ Mavs coach Doug Garner said. “He and I kind of worked that out together.”
Saenz made the most of the opportunity, and he is now on the active roster of the team that will play from November through March. It was an example of his determination to overcome any challenges in his life, including the ones that arrived after a car accident in May of 2015.
It was less than a month before high school graduation and Saenz was driving to a friend’s house. A car veered into his lane, and when Saenz tried to avoid it, he hit a gutter on the side of the road and the axle on his Jeep Wrangler broke.
“I flew out of the vehicle before it rolled six times, which saved my life,” Saenz said. “If I was in the vehicle, I would not be here today.”
Saenz suffered a spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. A middle linebacker at Frisco High, Saenz had been considering playing college football and had scholarship offers from Division II schools. After the accident, he decided on UTA largely because of the Movin’ Mavs.
“I didn’t want to give up sports,” Saenz said. “I also did wheelchair basketball so I could be a healthy and active paraplegic and so I could build and compensate for the functions I have lost.”
Saenz still has four years of athletic eligibility at UTA, but he’s a junior academically and majoring in business marketing. He has a grade-point average above 3.5 and is on the honor roll.
Saenz has fond memories of his time at Frisco High, including playing football playoff games at AT&T Stadium. Among the teachers who had a big impact on him were Jamarcus Langston, who still teaches at FHS, and Josh Gibson, a former football assistant coach who is now head coach at Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana. Saenz also mentioned former Frisco assistant coaches Matt Torres (now at Pioneer Heritage Middle School) and Cullen Ryan (Reedy High School.)
When describing his past, and specifically the time from the injury to where he is now, Saenz talks about “trusting the process.” When talking about the future, and giving advice to others with a physical disability, he purposely makes a reference to the pushing he does daily in his wheelchair.
“No matter the challenges you face in life,” Saenz said, “always keep pushing.”
This story appears in the October edition of Frisco ISD FOCUS Magazine. Read the entire magazine at: