Yesterday on Facebook, 37-year-old Mexican wheelchair basketball player Luis Blancas Rodríguez died in Cuernavaca, Mexico following a seizure. Blancas was returning from his native Mexico to Spain to compete with Mideba Extremadura in the team’s playoffs in Spain’s La Liga de Honor when the seizure occurred. During the seizure, his head banged against the ground repeatedly resulting in a skull fracture. He was hospitalized in grave condition for several days prior to his death.
A Mideba Extremadura representative said, “He always feltMideba Extremadura was his team, and he gave everything in each game. That s why in important matches when the result was not positive, the anger and the courage would result in the occasional tear escaping.
Without a doubt, his loss is irreplaceable as a player and as a person. From the club, we wants to thank you all for the expressions of support and encouragement that have been received in these days, which we want to share with all the family and friends of Luis Blancas.”
IWBF Europe Member of Development Commission Malik Abes said, “Luis Blancas played in the ranks of Mideba (Spain) for eight seasons that continue to be a mainstay of the team for all of them. Besides being a Mideba player, he also made it to the male senior team in Mexico, represented his country. But the desire and knowledge made him to be a leader in wheelchair basketball, so also working with the Mexican women’s team. LUIS BLANCAS definitely an irreplaceable loss as a player and as a person. ”
Dickie Bryant said of his passing, “R.I.P. My Amigo!! Luis was a great player but most of all a great and generous person. I am so happy our lives crossed in our beloved sport of wheelchair basketball! You will be missed!!!! Sending prayers for the family and friends to have God’s comfort.” IWBF referee Chris Gregory said, “I had the pleasure of reffing Lucas many times absolute gentleman and will be sadly missed. RIP”
Prof. O. Sergio Durand Alcántara said on behalf of Federación Mexicana De Deporte Sobre Silla De Ruedas, “A person could say a lot of things about you, how your nobility and goodness, but in these moments, I have in my mind an ancedote that describes you in a way, that it was your passion that went with your tears when we managed to defeat the team of Brazil in Vancouver, Canada and with which, thanks to your leadership and the faith that you inspired in the Mexican team, that we were able to return to a World Championship after 12 years of not qualifying, and your tears after the game with your words, “I knew today would be a good day.” broke all of our hearts. And to me personally, besides making me cry, taught me that working and fighting with passion in every moment of life, is how you can create “good days.”
Blancas spent eight years in Spain playing for Mideba Extremadura, playing in Spanish domestic competition and for the side as part of Eurocup events. He also played for Los Angeles Clippers in the United States, and was selected for the NWBA All-Star Wheelchair Classic in 2008, where he played for the West All Star Team.
Blancas was also a regular fixture as a member of the Mexican men’s national wheelchair basketball team. In 2000, he represented his country at the Summer Paralympics in Sydney. He was with the team 2011 Para Panamerican Games and 2014 World Championships in South Korea. He played for the team in November at the First Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Championship. Behind the scenes, he was an assistant coach for the Mexican women’s national team.