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Madonna Magic wheelchair basketball team scores big in division tourney

December 16, 2019

When you combine hard work, camaraderie and a little Magic, the results speak for themselves. This weekend the Madonna Magic wheelchair basketball team proved that to be true, cinching the division title in a hard-fought battle on the court at Madonna ProActive medical fitness facility.

Full court magic

The team is made up of a broad range of ages, physical abilities and backgrounds, but is focused on maintaining a high level of intensity in their game. Many have been playing together for many years and support one another on and off the court. The game is physical, fast and tough.

"I like it because it's so physical and so aggressive. When I first heard of wheelchair basketball, I honestly thought people were pushing around super slow in hospital chairs," 3-time Paralympian and player on the Madonna Magic, Natalie Schneider said.

Wheelchair Basketball 101

To be eligible to play wheelchair basketball, an individual must have a permanent lower limb extremity disability. That can range from an acquired condition like a spinal cord injury or amputation, or an inherited one like spina bifida. Not all participants use a wheelchair for everyday mobility.

The sport is well established, dating back to 1945 where games were played between World War II veterans at two different veterans’ administration hospitals in the United States. It was also part of the inaugural Paralympic Games taking place in Rome in 1960.

Participants typically use a modified sport chair, designed for speed and agility over everyday comfort. There are no brakes and wheels are slanted so that fast turns can be made.

Madonna’s commitment to lifelong health & wellness

Madonna offers a range of adaptive sports opportunities enabling adults and youth of all abilities to participate and/or compete in as varied activities as the rest of the community. In addition to competitive activities like wheelchair basketball, we offer many others just for recreational purposes, including bowling, golf, pickleball and fishing. Each activity is overseen by an experienced professional to ensure participants are safe while having fun.  

In addition, Madonna offers an equipment rental program which includes sport chairs. These are open to any Nebraska resident and available for up to 6 months.

“Participation in adaptive sports, whether competitive or recreational, improves physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills.  Participants have an opportunity to stay fit, engage in meaningful activities and build lasting friendships,” said recreation therapist Linda Ohnoutka, Program Leader for Madonna’s Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program.

The program is open to all, regardless of whether participants are former patients at Madonna.

To learn more about adaptive sports opportunities, click here.

To read more about the Madonna Magic victory in the division tournament from KLKN, click here

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