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Wheelchair basketball exhibition brings awareness to sport

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 (Photo by Helen’s Photography)
First responders took on Wounded Warriors in an exhibition basketball game at the Cross Timbers Family YMCA. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Basketball can be one of the fastest sports on two wheels.

Flower Mound-based Heritage Health Solutions partnered with Texas Woman’s University’s Project INVEST to host the Southwest Military Basketball Wheelchair Conference the weekend of June 17-19 in Flower Mound and Denton.

The Cross Timbers Family YMCA provided the courts for the junior’s wheelchair basketball clinic, which was followed by an exhibition wheelchair basketball game between Wounded Warriors and Flower Mound’s first responders.

“We greatly appreciate Cross Timbers YMCA providing the courts during Friday’s clinic and exhibition games,” said Kent Robinson, conference director. Robinson, who served 25 years combined in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, is passionate about wheelchair basketball.

 (Photo by Helen’s Photography)
Flower Mound Police Chief Andy Kancel (right) greets members of the Wounded Warriors team in an exhibition basketball game. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

“When you suffer a major injury in the military, it really takes a toll on you,” said Robinson. “You return home, and your life is forever changed. But resuming an active life, especially through sports, helps you forget about your injuries.”

Saturday’s tournaments began at TWU’s Pioneer Hall in Denton at 8 a.m. and ran until 5 p.m. The conference highlighted more than 35 women and men military veterans representing all the service branches from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Winners of Saturday games competed for the championship on Sunday morning with an award ceremony at noon. The champions for 2016 are the San Antonio Spurs.

 (Photo by Helen’s Photography)
(Photo by Helen’s Photography)

According to Robinson, the long-term goals are for the conference to continue to grow, and interest letters have already come in from as far away as California.

“This conference is a highly anticipated event each year,” said Ronald Davis, PhD, CAPE, founder of Project INVEST. “We’re incredibly proud to be involved because we’re seeing that events like these have huge benefits for wounded veterans. Their perspectives are becoming far more positive.”

Over 200 people from Flower Mound and North Texas attended the conference.

 (Photo by Helen’s Photography)
Members of the Flower Mound Summit Club satisfied everyone’s hunger. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Volunteers included the Cross Timbers Rotary, Marcus High School ROTC cadets, and Heritage Health Solutions employees.

For more information about the Southwest Military Basketball Wheelchair Conference, including a complete schedule and all details for next year’s conference, contact Dr. Ron Davis at rdavis@twu.edu.

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