Wheelchair basketball


This year Senior Harmonee Ruetes, a wheelchair basketball player at The Lincoln-Way Special Recreation Center, talked to some of the gym classes about her full athletic scholarship at the University of Texas at Arlington. Harmonee first started playing wheelchair basketball at 10 years old after she got her diagnosis of ples planus (flat-feet) and tibial tendinitis, meaning she has short tendons which limit her range and cause pain inhibiting her ability to play able-bodied sports.

Her uncle first recommended her to play wheelchair basketball at The Lincoln-Way Special Recreation Association (LWSRA). Since then, she has played wheelchair basketball at LWSRA, becoming a nine-time first Tournament team member and 2018 female MVP. She currently plays on three different teams and coaches as well.

Wheelchair basketball is a modified version of basketball with mostly the same rules as the able-bodied game. The game is played on a regulation-sized basketball court, with two teams of five players each. Wheelchair basketball players use specialized wheelchairs that are designed for the sport; the wheelchairs being low to the ground and the wheels angled inward for stability. An intriguing rule about wheelchair basketball is players are only allowed to push their wheelchairs twice before they must dribble or pass the ball. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires a high level of skill and teamwork.  And while most people think it is not a sport for everyone, everyone can enjoy the joys of playing the sport.

There are a lot of stigmas that go along with modified sports. When asking Harmonee about her experiences in the sport she explained, “What I had to overcome was the stigmas, that I can walk and I still play wheelchair basketball.I have to explain to a lot of people that the sport is really more diverse…A lot of people believe that you have to permanently be in a wheelchair to play wheelchair basketball, when anyone can enjoy the sport. It’s for everyone.” For more information about wheelchair basketball or other modified sports visit Home | Lincolnway Special Recreation Association (lwsra.org)