Just because someone has a physical disability doesn’t mean they have to give up their active lifestyle. To make sure no one is missing out, SportAbility of Iowa stepped in to help out a group of sixth graders with disabilities.
According to The Courier, the athletic organization brought a truckload of wheelchairs over to Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School to get the students active. SportAbility is an organization for people with lower limb disabilities. Members of the group donated the chairs as a part of their inclusive sports physical education day.
The school’s seventh-grade service learning class is responsible for all of this coming together. They organized the entire event and learned how people with disabilities can still be active. The class wanted to work with SportAbility because the group encourages inclusion, awareness, and acceptance.
Representatives from SportAbility taught a class of sixth graders how to use the chairs and then got them out on the basketball court. The students shot and passed the ball right from their seats. They were taught how to place the ball on their laps and under their chins so they could operate their chairs.
The wheelchairs that were used are unlike the kind you see in hospitals or nursing homes. They are built for speed, specifically for use in sports and other activities. The chairs have smaller wheels on the front and back to help with stability.
The seventh-grade service learning class is planning a basketball game with the youth wheelchair basketball team Rolling Panthers for later this month. Students and staff will compete against the team, along with various community leaders. Money raised from the game will help send young people with disabilities to SportAbility’s summer camp. It costs $300 to send one child to the camp, so the students and teachers want to get as many people attending the game as possible.
There are two million new wheelchair users every year in the United States. Their ages range from infant to elderly. Estephania Salvador, one of the sixth graders involved in the experience, said using the wheelchair was hard, but fun.
“If you like to try new things, you should try this,” Salvador said.