Story by: Emily Pagano
On March 18, 2016, Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball held their 16th annual Wheelchair Relay in MU’s Recreation Complex. The event allowed able-bodied persons to better understand what it’s like to live with a disability through a series of activities. Proceeds from the event funded Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball’s scholarship fund.
Participants played a series of games – from relay races around cones to shooting hoops – from the perspective of someone in a wheelchair. Carmen Abbott, PhD, Associate Teaching Professor in SHP’s Physical Therapy Department, is on the campus-wide committee that plans the annual event.
“Participants experienced first-hand how it feels emotionally and physically to perform activities with sight, voice and physical impairment,” Abbott said. “Positive interaction among all the groups, volunteers, participants and the basketball team allowed frank conversations and give-and-take from each other.”
This year, the event had 16 teams, the maximum number according to organizers. In addition to the Wheelchair Basketball team, several participants represented numerous types of disabilities. Scott Gale, Chair of the Wheelchair Relay Committee, said they raised understanding for members of the community in wheelchairs.
“The event has always been a positive, uplifting experience for all people there,” Abbott said. “Students and faculty come back year after year to participate in the event.”
According to Abbott, the Relay’s coordinating board is currently discussing what went well this year and making recommendations for next year’s event.
“We just hope to continue to get the word out before the relay,” Gale said. “It is such a fun event, and I know there are plenty of people on campus and in the community that would love to participate.”
To view photos from the event, click here.