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The Fassi Fehri sisters | Welded even in adapted sport

After becoming a paraplegic following a car accident in 2013, Sofia Fassi Fehri turned to adapted sport, more specifically wheelchair basketball. Her two sisters decided to enroll with her. Narrative.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The Press

It was July 29, 2013, around 10 p.m. Sofia Fassi Fehri had just finished having dinner with friends at a restaurant in Saint-Laurent, Montreal. The group agreed to continue the evening by having a drink somewhere else. To get there, the then 24-year-old woman rode on a friend’s motorbike.

Barely a few minutes after the start, at an intersection, the motorcycle was cut off by a vehicle, which it hit head-on. Fassi Fehri was expelled from the racing car. She landed eight meters further, on her back.

” I remember everything. I broke a lot of things. The back, the two legs… I had a blow to the shoulder, I had a cranial traumatism. I was well off,” she told The Press in a small café on Center Street in Montreal.

Sofia, a Moroccan who arrived in Quebec in 2007 for studies, was transported to the Sacré-Coeur hospital in Montreal. She had back surgery the next morning. Since that evening in July 2013, she has been paraplegic. That is to say, she no longer feels anything from the middle of her torso to her feet.


Sofia Fassi Fehri

“At first, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life,” she recalls. But I have a very supportive family. It went pretty well. I never lost my spirits or anything at all. »

Fassi Ferhi spent a week in intensive care, then a week in intermediate care before starting his rehabilitation. His goal: “to become as independent as possible”. What she did. On the way to a long career as a wheelchair basketball player…

Meriam and Zineb

Sofia Fassi Fehri has two sisters: Meriam and Zineb, twins who were studying in France at the time of the accident. A few months later, once their studies were finished, they decided to move to Quebec.

“The only thought we had was that we would go and join her,” recalls Meriam.

The three sisters have always been very close. “We are sisters and best friends! sums up Meriam simply but effectively. During their childhood in Morocco, they did all kinds of sports together. But Sofia has always had a special love for soccer.


The Meriem sisters, Sofia and Zineb Fassi Fehri

“Since I started walking, I’ve been playing soccer. Since I no longer walk, I no longer play! “, she says, laughing heartily.

After her accident, it was out of the question for her to remain inactive. At the Lucie-Bruneau rehabilitation center, she met a kinesiologist with whom she went on a tour of adapted sports. She has tried them all. Her sister Meriam, eager to accompany Sofia in her sport, tested two with them: rugby and basketball.

“When I tried basketball, I said: ‘If you don’t play, I’m going to play,’ says the latter. It was as simple as that! I really hooked, loved it. »

“We opted for basketball and we haven’t stopped since! “, she adds.

Zineb, absent during the interview with The Press, joined them the following year. The Adapted Sports Classification System allows athletes who do not have a disability to participate in the sport. To this day, the three sisters play on the same AA level team within their club, the Center for Integration in Active Life (CIVA), as well as on the Quebec team. Sofia and Meriam also play in the AAA.


Zineb, Sofia and Meriam Fassi Fehri sisters

“We really like playing together because we understand each other! Meriam suggests looking at Sofia.

“It often happens that it heats up, but it cools down just as quickly, continues the latter. It’s the joke between us. We speak Arabic; on the ground, as soon as we switch to Arabic, it means that we are in the process of yelling at each other! »

Note that Sofia will take part in a camp with the national team, in Colorado, in mid-May. Only players with a disability are eligible.

A community

While playing basketball, Sofia Fassi Fehri found much more than a new way to expend her energy.

“I mostly met a community,” she says. I have met people with disabilities who have gone through things that I have experienced. People with whom I can talk about certain things and who understand me. »


The sisters Sofia and Zineb Fassi Fehri

His sister Meriam also learned from this experience in a different way. “Do you realize that… OK, there is a disability, it shows. But they can do anything, she says. There are sports, they can travel. If you give yourself the means, you are capable. »

The sisters tried different sports, such as downhill skiing and adaptive water skiing. In the summer, they have planned a trip to Greece to do some kitesurfing adapted. “If you want to do something, you do research and you’ll find a way,” says Sofia.

“For any activity, there will always be a passionate person who, at some point, had bad luck and made sure to make it accessible to more people,” adds Meriam.

And then, there will always be the Fassi Fehri sisters to try!

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