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Boise wheelchair basketball program seeks to bring recreation to everyone

Athletes in the Boise Parks and Rec Adventure Seeker Program play wheelchair basketball, which involves all the regular aspects of basketball but is done sitting.

BOISE, Idaho — A local group is working to bring sports and recreation to all Idahoans, no matter the disability.

Athletes in the Boise Parks and Recreation Adventure Seeker Program are playing wheelchair basketball, which involves all the regular aspects of traditional basketball but is done while seated.

"Everybody deserves to have recreation," said Sonya Buchholz, the adaptive recreation coordinator for the City of Boise. "It's such an important part of our quality of life."

New to the Boise area, Tommy Schroeder has been involved in adaptive sports for 30 years. He began when he moved to Milwaukee at the age of seven and was introduced to wheelchair sports.

"I got involved because I have an older sister, younger brother and they were always playing stand-up basketball and other sports," Schroeder said. "I consider myself lucky, I've pretty much been in a wheelchair my whole life. I never had an accident or anything like that, that's the only thing I've never known. Honestly, being in a chair has opened up many doors for me." 

Schroeder was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which a developing baby's spinal cord does not develop properly. He said playing adaptive sports, like wheelchair basketball, built his confidence.

"That's with anything when you're in a chair," Schroeder said. "You can do anything anyone else can do, you just have to find different ways to do it."

Schroeder's dream is to start a wheelchair basketball team of his own in the Treasure Valley. Until then, creating more representation in the Treasure Valley and working with disabled athletes to show them what they can achieve feels like a slam dunk.

"There's so many young kids here with the potential and don't know about the places that wheelchair sports can take you," he said.

The Wheelchair Basketball Skills and Drills program is open to everyone. For more information, click here.

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