Students, faculty wheel their way around court


Molly Dotson

Second Lieutenant and recruiter for the ROTC Panther Battalion Cody Gallagher guards Cpt. Daniel Alix, assistant professor of millitary science, on Saturday during a game of wheelchair basketball in the Student Recreation Center. This activity was created to show students and community members the hardships faced by disabled veterans.

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

Wheels bumped into each other as players strapped themselves in a wheelchair to play a scrimmage game of basketball.

The Veterans Week activities ended with a wheelchair basketball game Friday hosted by the Military Student Assistance Center in the Student Recreation Center.

This is the first year for the wheelchair basketball game, and the main focus was to have people come out and experience how wounded veterans navigate a wheelchair while remaining active.

Kimberlie Moock, the director of the Military Student Assistance Center, said it also shows that wounded veterans can remain active just like any body else.

“We have military returning from service, and we do have a large number returning with mobility issues due to the war, but that doesn’t meet that there isn’t a way for them to still be active,” Moock said. “(The Veterans Affairs Office) help veterans who have had these mobility issues and these injuries return to a more active lifestyle.”

Moock said the interactive sports provided to veterans helps them transition from soldier to civilian and back to being healthy and active.

Jordan McLaren, a sophomore health administration major, said the idea for the activity came last year when the MSAC office was planning for Veterans Week 2014.

“We have a lot of activities for Veterans Week, but I wanted to do something a little more fun and inclusive with veterans being so active the way they are,” McLaren said. “I thought this would be a really fun way to kind of get students involved and kind of see how hard the sport is and then actually participate in some of those skills so they can see how hard it is.”

Some faculty members were special guests, and other attendees tried to beat their times in the skills competition.

Amanda Patterson, a senior accounting major, said she had fun playing basketball in the wheelchair despite a bit of difficulty in the beginning of her time in the chair.

“I think I was turning all the wrong directions so I had to get use to all the turns,” Patterson said. “We played a little scrimmage, and now I’m kind of picking up on it.”

Patterson said she heard about the activity Thursday and thought it would be fun to try something different with a sport she loves.

Capt. Daniel Alix, the ROTC Captain and a professor of military science, said he liked seeing how many people came out to try the wheelchair activity in support of veterans.

“I know quite a few people who have had various injuries, and they’re still able to go on and do things like this,” Alix said.

Moock said there were rules that people had to follow while they were playing a scrimmage game of wheelchair basketball.

Moock said people could roll their chairs two times before having to bounce the ball. Moock also said a person could not exceed more than two cart pushes while carrying the ball in their lap because it would be considered traveling.

Moock said the main point of the day was to bring awareness to how veterans adapt to life in a wheelchair, and it allowed people to test their skills on the basketball court.


Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]