BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- When you give the Lady Topper basketball team a week with no games, they’ll have quite a bit of free time. They took an evening out of and put themselves in the shoes of Paralympic athletes by playing wheelchair basketball with Adaptive Sport, a local Paralympic sports club.
Even though the Lady Tops are a D-l basketball team, once their ability to walk was stripped from them, they were taken way out of their comfort zone. Assistant Coach and WKU alum Tiffany Porter-Talbert, who helped plan the event, talked about how the game changes once you are in a wheelchair.
Porter-Talbert said, “…you need so much upper body strength (in wheelchair basketball.) In basketball you’re thinking about running up and down, but there’s no legs (in wheelchair basketball) so you can’t get up for those rebounds like you normally would. It trains a different part of your body.”
The Lady Tops struggled to adjust to the wheelchair as passes flew over heads, layups clanged off the rim, and Adaptive Sport athletes flew past them like a Corvette racing a Camry. It wasn’t about competition though as everyone was laughing and joking throughout the event. I even saw someone attempt to draw a charge as they dramatically flailed their arms like a wacky tube man in a used car lot. It wasn’t called though as I was told they have a, “no blood no foul,” policy in wheelchair basketball.
Junior Whitney Creech talked about what it was like to see the impact she had on the community. She said, “It means a lot to give back to the community because they do a lot for this program. They come out and support us throughout the season, so it’s the least we can do… And to just see the smiles on their faces, but they put smiles on our faces too just playing this game, so it’s been a lot of fun."
Events like this one aren’t just about giving back to the Bowling Green community, according to Coach Porter-Talbert. Community service is an opportunity for players to grow into women ready for life after college. Basketball is a temporary game, but the WKU coaching staff hopes the lessons and skills they develop as Hilltoppers carry on after the game.
She said that community outreach, “helps them develop the relationship building they need. Because in life you have to be able to network and get involved with people and get out of your comfort zone.”
Adaptive Sport became the second Paralympic sports club in Kentucky when it was started in August 2017. Madison Duncan, an Adaptive Sport Athlete, best explained what Adaptive Sports is about. They’re about empowering people with disabilities and showing the community that they refuse to be held back by their disability.
If you want to get in on the wheelchair basketball action, they’ll be playing it on Mondays and Thursdays from 4-5. For more information on Adaptive Sports then you can contact Cameron Levis at 270-393-3265 or by email at Cameron.firstname.lastname@example.org.