Chase Kerr holds the basketball in place as he carries the ball to the hoop during a special PE class where students were able to try wheelchair basketball at Shuswap Middle School on Friday

SMS students learn new skills

SMS students try out wheelchair basketball in PE class.

For the past week, students at Shuswap Middle School have been playing basketball in PE class.

They’ve practised many shooting, dribbling and passing drills as one would expect.

However, instead of running, they have been rolling up and down the court in wheelchairs.

Teacher Kira Limber is a former B.C. provincial player, and she looks forward to introducing the students to the sport every year.

“I think teaching the kids about wheelchair basketball is a great learning tool and it opens their eyes to a new experience,” he said.

Limber was introduced to the sport by her sister, Marni Abbott, who is an assistant coach for the women’s national wheelchair basketball team.

Abbott distinguished herself as one of the world’s premiere wheelchair basketball players winning three Paralympic gold medals, a bronze, and three world championship titles as well.

After a knee injury left Limber unable to regain her once dominant basketball form, her sister asked her to take up wheelchair basketball, as they were in need of players to fill out the roster.

Limber admits she was skeptical at first since she was an able-bodied player.

“Right away I was hooked. The chair makes it fun.”

The sport is inclusive to both disabled and able-bodied athletes, making it a fun activity anyone can enjoy.

The broad smiles on the students’ faces as they whipped around the gym were a good indication of the fun to be had.

“The chairs are incredibly agile, they can spin on a dime,” said Limber.

The wheels are angled out and the chair is lower to increase stability.

There’s a third wheel in the back, as well, to prevent tipping backwards.

Before playing a friendly game, Limber taught the basics of dribbling, passing and shooting from the wheelchair, which the students quickly picked up.

“I really hope this helps the kids to look past the chair and to see the person, not just the chair,” said Limber.

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