The NEDSRA Junior Bulls are hosting a wheelchair basketball tournament with five of the top 32 teams in the country attending. It will be held Jan. 18 at Addison Trail High School with games starting at 9 a.m.
Last year, the Jr. Bulls were ranked 11th in the nation after competing in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) tournament in Louisville Kentucky.
NEDSRA manages two junior level teams. The Preparatory (Prep) team, for ages 12 and under, plays on an 8 1/2-foot high basket and uses a smaller ball. The JV team, for ages 13 to 19, plays with regulation size basketballs and baskets. Nearly all of the rules are identical to NCAA regulations, with a few exceptions. The most significant rule is that you must dribble the ball after touching your chair wheels twice. Chairs are expected to make contact, however, no recklessness or holding wheelchairs is permitted. NEDSRA has sport chairs available for beginning players.
After high school, where does someone play wheelchair basketball?
Opportunities to play after high school continue to expand as the popularity of wheelchair basketball is growing. Midwestern universities such as Illinois, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Missouri and Southwest Minnesota have men’s wheelchair basketball programs and some have women’s teams.
Along with the Bulls, other local teams are the Chicago Cruisers and the Chicago Fire. The Fire are associated with the Midwest Wheelchair Sports and Social Club. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) offers men a chance to play with the RIC Hornets team. Women can play with the RIC Sky, an affiliate with the Chicago Sky women’s professional basketball team. The NWBA also organizes teams and tournaments through their website.
Bruce Flowers is the marketing coordinator for Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association.