The sisters Fassi Fehri | Even welded in adapted sports

After Sofia Fassi Fehri suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident in 2013, she turned to modified sports, specifically wheelchair basketball. Her two sisters decided to enroll with her. Story.

Posted at 5:00 am

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The press

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

Barely minutes after the start, at an intersection, the motorcycle was cut off by a vehicle, which hit head-on. Fassi Fehri was kicked out of the race car. She landed eight meters further, on her back.

“I remember everything. I broke a lot of things. The back, the two legs… I got a blow on my shoulder, I had a skull trauma. I was right,” she said. The press in a small cafe on Center Street in Montreal.

Sofia, a Moroccan who arrived in Quebec for studies in 2007, was transported to the Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Montreal. The next morning she had surgery on her back. She has had a spinal cord injury since that evening in July 2013. That is, she no longer feels anything from the center of her torso down to her feet.


Sofia Fassi Fehric

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

Fassi Ferhi spent a week in intensive care and then a week in intermediate care before starting his rehabilitation. His goal: “to become as independent as possible”. What she did. En route 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, when they finished college, they decided to move to Quebec.

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

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


The Meriem sisters, Sofia and Zineb Fassi Fehri

“I’ve been playing football ever since I started running. Since I don’t walk anymore, I don’t play anymore! ‘ she says with a hearty laugh.

After her accident, it was out of the question that she would remain inactive. In the Lucie-Bruneau rehabilitation center, she met a kinesiologist with whom she toured in adapted sports. She’s 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 that simple! I was really addicted, loved it. †

“We chose basketball and haven’t stopped since! she adds.

Zineb, absent during the interview with The press, joined them the following year. The Custom Sports Classification System allows athletes to participate in the sport without restriction. 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.


Sisters Zineb, Sofia and Meriam Fassi Fehri

“We really enjoy playing together because we understand each other! Meriam suggests to look at Sofia.

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

Note: Sofia will be competing in a National Team Camp in Colorado in mid-May. Only players with disabilities are eligible.

A community

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

“Most of all, I’ve met a community,” she says. I have met people with disabilities who have experienced things that I have experienced. People with whom I can talk about certain things and who understand me. †


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 handicap, it turns out. 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 something kitesurfing adjusted. “If you want to do something, do your research and you’ll find a way,” Sofia says.

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

And then there are always the Fassi Fehri sisters to try!