With adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball, Chicago is a hub for disabled youths shooting hoops

By Haydee Clotter

For disabled young people who use wheelchairs to get around, being on a basketball team may once have been an impossible dream. But now teams like the Chicago Skyhawks allow them to play a version of the game adapted for wheelchair users.

The Skyhawks are one of several adaptive sports programs throughout Chicago where young people like Martrell Stevens can regularly be seen on the court. The Skyhawks player says he doesn’t think playing wheelchair basketball is that much different from playing regular basketball.

“It’s just like playing regular sports,” said Stevens. “It’s just you in a chair. I actually think it’s more fun.”

“Chicago is kind of a hub for kids with disabilities playing sports,” said Sheena Hager, Chicago Park District adaptive sports instructor. “I love adaptive sports and I want to see kids have as many opportunities as possible.”

According to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, wheelchair basketball was first introduced in 1946 and and now has more than 200 teams.

Photo at top: Haydee Clotter/MEDILL