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Hall to support global nonprofit

Amy Klopfenstein | Friday, April 27, 2012

Ryan Hall will host a 5-on-5 wheelchair basketball tournament tomorrow afternoon to support the Wheelchair Foundation, an international nonprofit which distributes wheelchairs to those in need across the globe.

Freshman Emily Voorde helped coordinate the event with Bookstore Basketball, SAO and other halls. Voorde, who uses a wheelchair, has played wheelchair basketball with a local team and helped sponsor a similar wheelchair basketball tournament at her high school.

“I thought it would be a good event to raise awareness and funds for a good cause,” she said.

Voorde said the rules for regular basketball still apply for the tournament. The hoops, courts and balls are the same size. The only rule change applies to dribbling, she said. Each player must dribble once for every two pushes of the chair.

Voorde said people may need time to adjust to the game and will have a very different experience in this tournament than they have in others.

“People have a lot of questions because it is not something they are familiar with,” Voorde said.

Alick’s Home Medical donated 30 wheelchairs for the tournament. Voorde said she worked with the South Bend medical supply store when planning her high school’s wheelchair basketball tournament.

Ryan president sophomore Alison Quinn said though the team first hoped to work with a local organization, many South Bend charities focusing on wheelchair distribution already had sponsors. Quinn said they were then drawn to the international mission of the Wheelchair Foundation.

Quinn said she hopes to raise enough money to purchase at least one wheelchair, which costs $150. She also said she hopes the tournament encourages solidarity and deeper understanding among students.

“It’s fun because you get to play basketball in a wheelchair, but it’s also demonstrative of what some people go through every day,” Quinn said.

Students can enjoy free food and winners will receive prizes at the event, she said. Quinn said she hopes for a high level of student involvement and wants to make the tournament an annual event.

“Given it’s our first year, we hope to get enough involvement [to continue the event] in future years,” Quinn said.

Voorde said students should register to support the charity and have fun with friends.

“It’s the same game, same ball, same rules, just on wheels. It’s really fun, and I think it will be a great experience,” Voorde said.

To register for the tournament, visit www.nd.edu/~ryan and click on the wheelchair basketball logo. Registration is also available through the group’s Facebook page.