2022.1123 Spokes

Sportable Introduces Youth Wheelchair Basketball Team

RICHMOND, VA – (Monday, November 28, 2022) – Sportable, Central Virginia’s premier adaptive sports club, is proud to introduce Richmond’s inaugural Junior Prep wheelchair basketball team designed for kids with physical disabilities aged 5-13, the Sportable Spokes. Outfitted with custom sports wheelchairs by The Rotary Clubs of Brandermill and Hanover’s 2022 Rotary District Grant on Giving Tuesday, the Spokes will compete in their first tournament this weekend, December 3-4, when they travel to NC State University for the Old North State Classic.

“We are delighted to launch Richmond’s first-ever official Junior Prep wheelchair basketball team,” commented Hunter Leemon, Sportable Executive Director. “As the beneficiaries of the generous Rotary District Grant, we are able to provide our youngest athletes equipment that is appropriate for their age and skill level. Additionally, their support was instrumental in allowing us to officially register the prep team with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. We strongly believe that getting our youngest athletes ‘in the game’ is the first step to transformed lives.”

“The Hanover and Brandermill Rotary Clubs were thrilled to be able to partner together on such an impactful grant for a truly remarkable organization,” added David Necessary, Immediate Past President of the Brandermill Rotary Club. “Our clubs feel privileged to be able to provide meaningful support that will help Sportable create opportunities that will transform the lives of the amazing athletes they serve. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Sportable for years to come.”

The Sportable wheelchair basketball program has been a mainstay since the organization’s inception in 2005; however, the 2022-23 season marks the first time Sportable has officially registered a team in the Junior Prep Division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). Sportable’s Junior Division team, composed of varsity players aged 13-high school, won the 2016 NWBA National Tournament title in their second appearance.

Wheelchair basketball is one of the oldest adaptive sports dating back to post WWII and was part of the first Paralympics games in 1948. Wheelchair basketball is a team sport modeled after the NCAA rules with the only difference being that instead of allowing two steps before passing or dribbling the ball, wheelchair basketball allows two pushes with the wheel. The Junior Prep Division uses a basket height of 8.5 feet.

Sportable creates opportunities and transforms lives by making sports accessible and inclusive for individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments. To get involved with Sportable’s wheelchair basketball program as a player, volunteer, or supporter, visit Sportable.org.

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