Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Is About More Than Just Who Win - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Is About More Than Just Who Wins

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. – It is a sport with driven athletes and a lot of competition, but it is not one that gets a lot of attention. Although some may not have heard of about it, it is one that is changing lives and helping kids get into college. The sport is wheelchair basketball and this weekend, dozens of athletes are competing in the West Coast Conference Championship held in Spokane, for a spot in the sweet 16 at National's in Kentucky.

“We do have quite a few teams here in the area, but it needs to be more,” said ParaSport Spokane Executive Director Teresa Skinner. “We probably have enough athletes, potential athletes, to field about ten teams, it's just the word doesn't get out.”

Teresa Skinner started ParaSport of Spokane after seeing how much of an impact playing a sport can have on someone’s life.

“It makes an incredible difference,” Skinner said. “All of us have access to be able to play sports at anytime. We can choose whatever we want to do. We can start playing a sport at two-years-old, but if you're a child or adult with a disability and your community doesn't have a program then you're kind of out of luck.”

Watching the athletes race across the court, shoot hoops, and cheer each other on, it is easy to see why being part of a team can make such a big difference.

“It's really important and the changes that we see in kids, especially kids, even from one weekend from being around a huge tournament like this, or traveling, it's unbelievable the change that occurs in these guys' lives,” Skinner said.

“I like the team part of it,” said athlete Mikila Salazar. “I just like having others there to support you and I like the feel of that.”

Mikila Salazar has been playing for nine years and hopes her team will clinch the top spot at nationals this year.

“There's a lot of competition,” Salazar said. “Arizona, a lot of them are pretty good, so it's whoever, I don't know, plays the best game I guess.”

She is now a senior and no matter how the tournament turns out, she plans to continue playing in college.

“I got into the University of Alabama and I applied for University of Texas and I’ve been talking to the coach over there, so if I get in I'll probably go and play,” Salazar said.

Twelve colleges now offer scholarships for wheelchair basketball, allowing athletes, like Mikila, a way to pay for school and a chance to continue doing what they love.

“It kind of changes their perspective or the way people feel sometimes about their disability,” Skinner said. “They think, oh what am I going to do? Well, now you can play a sport, you can go to college, you can get a scholarship for the sport, it's awesome.”

“It was really good for me, so even like disability or not, it's really cool to watch and cool to be a part of,” Salazar said.

ParaSport of Spokane always needs volunteers, coaches, and even more athletes if you know someone who wants to play. The championship game will be Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Westwood Middle School. For more information visit: www.paraspokane.org

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Motorcyclist dies in Hauser collision

    Motorcyclist dies in Hauser collision

    Thursday, June 21 2018 10:43 PM EDT2018-06-22 02:43:50 GMT

    A Spokane man has been pronounced deceased after his motorcycle was involved in a collision on Idaho State Highway 53 in Hauser on Thursday afternoon.

    >>

    A Spokane man has been pronounced deceased after his motorcycle was involved in a collision on Idaho State Highway 53 in Hauser on Thursday afternoon. 

    >>
  • Terminally ill Rathdrum baby gets gift of comfort from local business

    Terminally ill Rathdrum baby gets gift of comfort from local business

    Thursday, June 21 2018 9:54 PM EDT2018-06-22 01:54:33 GMT

    RATHDRUM, Idaho - A family said their main priority right now is keeping their sick baby comfortable. They were recently told by doctor's their 19month-old daughter isn't expected to live much longer. They said one of the only things that eases her pain is a specialty chair that insurance won't cover. That's when friends said, "Help Me Hayley."

    >>

    RATHDRUM, Idaho - A family said their main priority right now is keeping their sick baby comfortable. They were recently told by doctor's their 19month-old daughter isn't expected to live much longer. They said one of the only things that eases her pain is a specialty chair that insurance won't cover. That's when friends said, "Help Me Hayley."

    >>
  • Officials identify truck driver killed in Idaho crash

    Officials identify truck driver killed in Idaho crash

    Friday, June 22 2018 3:42 PM EDT2018-06-22 19:42:31 GMT
    Photo: ISPPhoto: ISP
    Photo: ISPPhoto: ISP

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Officials in southwestern Idaho have identified the driver of a commercial truck killed in a fiery, chain-reaction crash near Boise that also killed three airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base.    The Ada County Coroner's Office in a news release Friday says 42-year-old Illya D. Tsar of Rochester, New York, died in the crash on Saturday on Interstate 84. 

    >>

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Officials in southwestern Idaho have identified the driver of a commercial truck killed in a fiery, chain-reaction crash near Boise that also killed three airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base.    The Ada County Coroner's Office in a news release Friday says 42-year-old Illya D. Tsar of Rochester, New York, died in the crash on Saturday on Interstate 84. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Viral Post: 15-year-old girl helps blind, deaf man on Alaska flight

    Viral Post: 15-year-old girl helps blind, deaf man on Alaska flight

    Saturday, June 23 2018 2:08 AM EDT2018-06-23 06:08:40 GMT

    A 15-year-old girl's generosity has gone viral according to a Facebook post with nearly 300,000 shares. The post from Lynette Scribner describes a man, Tim Cook, who is both deaf and blind who was flying home to Portland unaccompanied after visiting his sister in Boston. 

    >>

    A 15-year-old girl's generosity has gone viral according to a Facebook post with nearly 300,000 shares. The post from Lynette Scribner describes a man, Tim Cook, who is both deaf and blind who was flying home to Portland unaccompanied after visiting his sister in Boston. 

    >>
  • Protests, facility visits planned amid immigration confusion

    Protests, facility visits planned amid immigration confusion

    Saturday, June 23 2018 1:46 AM EDT2018-06-23 05:46:12 GMT
    MGN ImageMGN Image

    McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Protests and rallies focused around the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border are scheduled this weekend, while more than two dozen congressional Democrats plan to visit detention facilities in Texas.  

    >>

    McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Protests and rallies focused around the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border are scheduled this weekend, while more than two dozen congressional Democrats plan to visit detention facilities in Texas.  

    >>
  • Cage-free egg initiative qualifies for California ballot

    Cage-free egg initiative qualifies for California ballot

    Friday, June 22 2018 10:31 PM EDT2018-06-23 02:31:52 GMT

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California voters will decide in November whether egg-laying hens must live cage free. Secretary of State Alex Padilla says an initiative setting standards for confining calves, pigs and hens is eligible for the ballot. Businesses wouldn't be allowed to sell meat and eggs raised in settings that don't meet the standards.

    >>

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California voters will decide in November whether egg-laying hens must live cage free. Secretary of State Alex Padilla says an initiative setting standards for confining calves, pigs and hens is eligible for the ballot. Businesses wouldn't be allowed to sell meat and eggs raised in settings that don't meet the standards.

    >>