Manuel Rodriguez has a passion for basketball. He loves a competitive game and the camaraderie of being on a team. He is a member of the wheelchair basketball team that is part of the Adaptive Sports and Recreation program offered by the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute.
“I look forward to the competition of wheelchair basketball,” said Rodriguez. “I am motivated to become more fit so I can play wheelchair basketball.”
Rodriguez is part of a wheelchair basketball team offered by the Adaptive Sports and Recreation program based at Memorial. The team has competed in national tournaments.
Sherrod Nelson is the coach of the wheelchair basketball team. He broke his back in a fall and could only participate in wheelchair basketball. “I love the competition of basketball. It helps build the moral of people who have been severely injured,” he said.
Members of the wheelchair basketball team were part of the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Expo at Markham Park. The celebration was hosted by Memorial Regional Hospital South.
The event allowed a group of people with various disabilities the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sports including wheelchair basketball, adaptive soccer, hand cycling, disk golf, adaptive sailing, adaptive scuba diving, and adaptive water skiing. The idea is to encourage people to pursue their athletic and fitness goals as far as possible.
Kristen Hoss, executive director of the Youth Environmental Alliance was teaching disabled people how to sail. “I encourage people with disabilities to sail and to fish,” she said.
Bariyah Gilmer enjoyed the opportunity to go fishing. She also went scuba diving. “I had a great time today,” she said.
Many of the people who participate in the Adaptive Sports program spent years playing highly competitive sports. They have worked hard to overcome their disabilities and enjoy physical activities.
Jason Brown spent part of the day learning to scuba dive. He suffered a stroke and is working on rehabilitation. Now he does volunteer work at Memorial and helps move patients. “I love scuba diving and this is good motivation,” he said.