2013-02-25 19:45:20 - 16 Teams, 200 Athletes to Compete When 32nd Annual Event, Sponsored in Part by ABC Medical, Rolls into Fairmount Park March 1-3.
PHILADELPHIA – When adaptive sports athletes from all over the East Coast descend on Philadelphia March 1 for the 32nd Annual Carousel House Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, they won’t just be competing for a trophy. They’ll be facing off for their own pride and determination, and more importantly to inspire legions of others in wheelchairs. In fact, their implicit message, “Adapt, Believe, Compete,” will resonate long after the weekend-long tournament ends.
The event, sponsored in part by Exton, Pa.-based ABC Medical ( www.abc-med.com) and being held at the Carousel House and the High School of the Future in Fairmount Park, will bring together some 200 competitors representing 16 teams from the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA), such as the Keystone State
Royals, the Delaware Destroyers and the Maryland Ravens. The tournament’s goal is to show those with disabilities that active endeavors will lead to healthier minds and bodies, and to help these individuals discover renewed belief in their own potential.
Some of the athletes, like long-time wheelchair basketball player John Pellegrino of North Wilmington, Del., need no further convincing.
“The level of competition at this event is extraordinary. With the exception of wheels spinning on the floor, spectators would be hard pressed to tell this apart from regular basketball,” says Pellegrino, 43, who’s also a handcyclist, two-time Philadelphia marathoner, skier and certified scuba diver. “Besides winning, of course, every athlete out there has one thing in mind: to encourage younger people to get involved and accomplish their goals.”
ABC Medical, whose sponsorship subsidizes tournament costs such as referee fees, athletes’ ground transportation, and meals, has had first-hand experience observing the transformative effect adaptive sports has on their participants. Besides wheelchair basketball, the distributor of catheters and other medical supplies backs wheelchair softball, sled hockey and quad rugby, among other adaptive sports. It is the official sponsor of the NWBA and National Wheelchair Softball Association, and ABC Medical’s involvement covers team insurance, reduces entry fees, pays for banquets and helps teams starting out in the leagues. Last summer, the company also supported the U.S. men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams participating in the Paralympics in London.
“We've been involved in encouraging and enabling participation in adaptive sports from the start. Our goal is to improve the lives of the disabled community however we can, and athletics is a big part of that, both mentally and physically,” says ABC Medical CEO Keith Jones. “Along the way, we’ve been transformed ourselves.”
Wheelchair basketball is very similar to regulation basketball, and mostly adheres to NCAA rules. The key difference is players with the ball can take two “spins” of their wheels, then must pass or shoot, otherwise it’s considered “traveling.” Hoops are the same height – 10 feet – as in the non-adaptive game.
The 32nd Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament will include two divisions of athletes: the Championship Division, comprised of more experienced players, and Division 3, comprised of other adult participants, both male and female. Both divisions are for age 19 and older, and some athletes are in their 30s and 40s.
Although this is the first time ABC Medical is sponsoring the Philadelphia tournament, Jones says it likely won’t be the last.
“This area has a vibrant community of special athletes, the Carousel House is a great venue, and it’s practically in ABC Medical’s backyard,” says Jones, who purchased the company too late in 2012 to sponsor last year’s tournament. “I have no doubt we’ll be involved next year.”
About ABC Medical
ABC Medical is a values-driven company grounded in the belief that to do good is to do well. It is the exclusive medical supply partner of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and every week supports the growth of adaptive sports throughout the United States. In 2012, ABC Medical was a proud sponsor of the U.S. men's and women's wheelchair basketball teams for the Paralympic Games. ABC provides money to seed local adaptive sports teams and leagues; helps individuals locate community sports; and contributes financially to veterans' organizations to encourage athletic participation among disabled service members. For more information, visit www.abc-med.com
or call 866-897-8588.