Saturday’s event is a warm-up for the conference championship later this month in OKC.
Logan Shaw played competitive soccer until three years ago, when he and a friend were hit by a car while riding a go-cart.
He suffered a spinal cord injury that requires him to use a wheelchair. After the accident, Shaw was depressed and didn’t like to do much.
Then he started playing competitive wheelchair basketball with the Tulsa Jammers.
“I went from all legs to all arms,” the 15-year-old said of his athletic transition.
Being competitive and playing on the team have helped him immensely, he said.
“It definitely beats sitting at home and doing nothing,” he said. “I like being around everyone and the competition. It gives you something to strive to be better at.”
It’s also helped him develop a new perspective on life.
“I don’t consider myself disabled,” he said. “The disability doesn’t make you. You make the disability. I can do anything my friends can do. Sometimes I have to do it a little differently.”
The Tulsa Jammers are hosting the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Southwest Tournament on Saturday at the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges.
Junior Wheelchair Sports varsity and junior varsity teams from Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis and Houston will be competing in the event.
The tournament is a warm-up for the conference championship later this month in Oklahoma City. The winner of that tournament will represent the conference in the national championship in Denver.
Bradley Forbes, coach of the Tulsa Jammers and rehabilitative instructor at the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, thinks the competition is a great opportunity for the kids.
“For kids with disabilities, there’s nothing for them at school as far as sports. Here, they’re getting to play in tournaments just like the other kids,” he said.
Forbes said a lot of lessons are learned from playing on a team.
“It teaches them a lot of good life skills they can take away from here when they move on,” he said. “They learn to work together, play as a team. It really teaches them basic life skills.”
The center’s sports programs also include tennis, and track and field, and it’s recruiting participants with mobility impairments ages 7-19 for the current season.
Participants don’t have to use wheelchairs all the time; they just have to have a permanent lower-extremity disability.
“I encourage parents of kids with disabilities to get them involved and away from the TV and a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to health problems later in life,” Forbes said.
By MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
National Wheelchair Basketball Association Southwest Tournament
When: Begins 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, 815 S. Utica Ave.
For more information go online to tulsaworld.com/tulsacenter.