Wheelchair Basketball Players Battle on the Court

By: Bonney Bowman Email
By: Bonney Bowman Email

"I get to get out and enjoy an activity that I enjoyed prior to my accident. I get to get out and just be me." - Rick Haith

Wheelchair basketball players from three different states were in the capital city this weekend.

They battled it out on the court to see who was best.

But for these players, wheelchair basketball is more than just a sport.

Para-Olympian Natalie Schneider is a rockstar of the sport.

She's on the national team, won a gold medal in Beijing, and took 4th in the London games.

But she credits this game with helping her find herself.

Schneider says, "After I had cancer and found out I couldn't play able-bodied sports anymore, that was really hard to take but after discovering wheelchair basketball, I was able to be competitive again."

It's a feeling Madonna Rec Therapist Rick Haith can relate to.

He also plays wheelchair basketball.

Haith says, "I get to get out and enjoy an activity that I enjoyed prior to my accident. I get to get out and just be me."

Four teams hit the court Sunday for the Madonna Proactive Invitational.

The athletes are testing their skills, preparing for an upcoming regional qualifier.

Haith says, "There's some out here that come here just for fun. There's some out here that come out to build camaraderie with other people. And there's some people that come out here and they want to win."

Schnieder wants to win, but for her, it's more than that.

She says the whole experience has been amazing.

"I'll probably just keep playing forever. That's the nice thing is it's something you can just keep doing."

And for these athletes, that is a slam dunk.


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