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DHS to Hold Wheelchair Basketball Exhibition Game May 24

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DHS to Hold Wheelchair Basketball Exhibition Game May 24
Posted on 05/23/2017
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Deering High School senior Patrick Uwamahoro’s wheelchair doesn’t stop him from playing the game he loves: basketball. What does hold him back are lack of opportunities to play wheelchair basketball – a game in which wheelchair athletes do everything traditional basketball players do, such as dribble, pass, shoot the ball and even do lay-ups. There isn’t a local league in which Patrick can play.

But on Wednesday, May 24, at a Wheelchair Basketball Exhibition Game at 6 p.m. in the Deering gym, Patrick will get the chance to play with other wheelchair basketball athletes from VAST – Veterans Adaptive Sports & Training. That program, based at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, promotes the lifelong health and well being of veterans with disabilities through regular participation in an array of physical activities and sports.

“I have been waiting for this and I have never played with other folks in a wheelchair, so this will be a great opportunity for me,” said Patrick, who immigrated to this country from Rwanda when he was in middle school. “Since I came to America, I usually go to an open gym and play with others but they aren’t in a wheelchair. I am looking forward to this game! This will also be a good experience and I hope to find a league to play in after graduation.”

The VAST athletes will also bring some spare wheelchairs with them to the game so that other Deering students can join in with Patrick and the veterans.

Patrick has been planning the tournament in conjunction with Jessica Labbe, Deering's social work intern from the University of Southern Maine, along with many other Deering staff members. Deering social worker Melissa McStay said the game will be pretty informal but a fun and learning experience for all – and an exciting chance for Patrick to do what he loves. “It’s a really cool, unique opportunity,” she said.