To celebrate Disability Awareness Month, the City of Meridian participated in a friendly, yet competitive game of wheelchair basketball on Saturday.
“The team that we’re playing are from USM, the Golden Eagles wheelchair basketball team. They travel and play in the league and throughout the country. They’re very good, very, very good,” said Parks and Recreation Athletic Director Thomas Adams.
City leaders got to see what it’s like living with a disability. Various members of city council got in wheelchairs and took to the court.
“It’s been a lot of laughs. I think more laughs than anything because it’s difficult. It’s very difficult. It’s tiring. I have much respect for these guys that play this game in a wheelchair. Being a former basketball player, myself being able to run, I have a lot of respect for these guys,” said Adams.
One of the USM Golden Eagles players, Antonio Wright, has been playing wheelchair basketball since he was paralyzed waist-down from a car accident in 1997. He said the game sheds light on the challenges those living with disabilities face on a day-to-day basis.
“When you look at a 6-inch curb, you just step over it. For a person like myself in a wheelchair, a 6-inch curb means a whole lot different. We want to bring this sport into everybody’s bubble because somebody that you know is affected in some kind of way.”
But he explained that when living with a disability, the opportunities are boundless.
“I got my degree after my accident. I met my wife after my accident. I started my own company after my accident. I wrote a book called “From a Label to Brand” after my accident. I believe it’s not what you go through, it’s how you go through it.”
The City of Meridian Parks and Recreation Department says the city has athletic programs available for disabled youth and adults and will continue hold events like wheelchair basketball.