Wheelchair basketball takes Victoria by storm

TAAF organization held a wheelchair basketball tournament

VICTORIA, Texas — A wheelchair basketball tournament began at East High School. Basketball teams from all around the state, including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston and Louisiana traveled to Victoria to participate in this weekends tournament. Wheelchair basketball is part of the TAAF (Texas Amateur Athletic Federation) winter games and this is the first time Victoria has hosted wheelchair basketball as an event. City of Victoria athletics coordinator Brittany Dworaczyk explains the thought process of picking the event.

At first we looked into bringing adaptive softball, but we thought maybe that wouldn’t work too well because it’s not in season, said Dworaczyk. We though what about basketball. It is basketball season and it would help if if was inside.

NBA teams often sponsor local basketball teams including the wheelchair basketball team called the San Antonio Spurs. On the Spurs team, is a person who recently became disabled. Shawn Simmions who has been disabled for four years, but has only played wheelchair basketball for two. The business owner lost his leg due to a construction accident leaving him questioning what the future holds. After years of rehab, and physical therapy he found wheelchair basketball and the former semipro football player decided to give it a try. The father of three says finding the sport of wheelchair basketball helps him stay in shape and helps his mental health.

I don’t think a lot of people understand what people like me with mobility and disability issues go through on a day to day basis, said Simmions. This [sport] has been a Godsend for me, I know for a lot of my teammates and competitors as well.

In the sport of wheelchair basketball and traditional basketball there are almost no differences. Simmions says his favorite thing about the sport is the physicalness.

There is a lot more contact than people think. We are hitting guys, setting picks, rolling to the basket. It’s a real aggressive sport, said Simmions. Coming from a football background it is good to get that aggression out.