For the Jr. Sioux Wheelers, basketball is much more than a game - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

For the Jr. Sioux Wheelers, basketball is much more than a game

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 Tonight a story about sports and the amazing effect it's having on a group of Sioux Falls teen-agers.
 Their sport of choice is basketball and they play it in a way that few others can.
 We were inspired by what they told us about what a game is teaching them about life and about themselves.

 There is a commitment that comes with playing a sport.
 It has to be more than just a love of the game.
 There has to be a desire to play and put yourself on the line....and possible come up short.

 "It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, blood, sweat and tears to get strong enough, to get consistent enough, to be able to compete." Travis Robinson is the Assistant Coach of the Junior Sioux Wheelers.
 The players are high schoolers who, for one reason or another, find themselves in a wheelchair.
 Maybe their muscles don't work so well....or maybe their bones are brittle....but instead of two legs they play on two wheels.
 But don't dare make the mistake in thinking the wheelchair...is what these kids have in common.

 "This is never something I thought of until I started playing and now its a huge part of what I do and I love being in sports again." Michael Mitchell plays this game. He thought sports were a part of his past. Now it's what he sees in his future.
 And listen to Kristen Barnhardt, who never thought in a million years she would be an athlete, about what playing this game means to her. "I can be this little girl In this wheelchair and I can still mean something, still be something."

 No...these players don't have a wheelchair in common.
 What playing this game does is give them a purpose...one they didn't think they would have or could have.
 Now....they do.
 Even their coach, Paul Weiland...knows this goes beyond making a 2-point shot. "These kids have come a long way and they have improved not only as basketball players but they've grown as individuals as well."

 And as Paul told us, as a coach....what more could he ask for.

 The Junior Sioux Wheelers are good.
 Next week, they're headed to Louisville, Kentucky to play in the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
 If you'd like to learn more about the Junior Sioux Wheelers, click on the link here.

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