Mandan Middle school is teaming up with Dreams in Motion this week. They’re showing kids what it’s like to play basketball with a disability.
Dreams in Motion strives to provide athletes with mobility challenges and visual impairments the opportunity to play many of the same sports that the abled can. They offer sports such as wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, adaptive dance groups, curling. and much more.
The students of Mandan Middle spent all week learning basketball skills while maneuvering a wheelchair. They hope the 7th graders might not only learn a few skills but have a new perspective as well.
President of Dreams in Motion, Michael Kaip says, “I grew up loving sports. I grew up trying to find ways to get involved.”
Kaip knows first hand the difficulties of playing sports with a physical disability. He told me given the limited number of Paralympic clubs throughout the Midwest it wasn’t always easy to find a way to play sports. But one day he got a surprise of a lifetime from his high school hockey team.
“We played hockey together. We played the game we all loved together for a day, so that was the inspiration of Dreams in Motion. We said we needed something like this in the central and western part of the state,” says Kaip.
And that’s exactly what Kaip did. The non-profit Dreams in Motion creates, manages, and partners with others to provide parasport programs. All this week they taught the Mandan Middle School 7th grade PE classes, what it’s like to play basketball in a wheelchair.”
7th Grader at Mandan Middle School, Hunter Corbin, “It’s harder than regular basketball, but I think I am getting the hang of it.”
“Did you think going into this it was going to be pretty hard or what was your expectations? Yeah I expected it to be pretty hard and it is,” says student, Sophia Felderman.
The kids learned how to shoot, pass, dribble, and play defense all while maneuvering a wheelchair. Kaip even asked me to try it an yes it was very difficult.
Corbin says he thinks it’s important for kids his age to be put in the same shoes as someone with a physical disability.
“So we kind of have to learn how other people do sports that we do and we think that’s normal and they think this is normal. So we learn what their normal is,” says Corbin.
Kaip told me that they will continue going to different schools throughout the year, and can hopefully teach many more students the need in their community for paraplegic sports.
“I just think its really important to expose kids to different viewpoints and to get them thinking about people in the world who have different experiences than them and just different challenges and different needs,” says Kaip.
Kaip adds he’s loved getting to see the kids go from being nervous to feeling comfortable and relaxed playing in a wheelchair, as the week progresses.
The wheelchairs they used were provided by Dreams in Motion, and average around $2,000- $4,000 per chair. Dreams in Motion will also have an upcoming wheelchair basketball tournament.
For more information about how to donate and the wheelchair basketball tournament, click here.
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