GHS, Upstate mom partner to launch area's first wheelchair baske - FOX Carolina 21

GHS, Upstate mom partner to launch area's first wheelchair basketball team

Posted: Updated:
(Feb. 24, 2017/FOX Carolina) (Feb. 24, 2017/FOX Carolina)

A mother and an Upstate hospital have taken matters into their own hands to help their kids do what they love. 

Every weekend Brandi Tucker and her son, Hudson, would travel to Charlotte so he could play wheelchair basketball. Tucker explains up until now, there hasn't been a league here in the Upstate. But now thanks to a new program with Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, the Upstate Community Abilities Network (UCAN) and this Upstate mother, Hudson is practicing a little closer to home. 

"So far we have seven children who are interested in playing, who smile every time they get on this court. And it offers a life changing opportunity for them," Tucker said. 

Tucker approached the Rogers Peace Center about the program, hoping that it would be a possibility to get more kids involved. "Can we start a team for children that have physical disabilities to play to be apart of something competitive?"

 A rehabilitation therapist, Danielle Fitzmorris,  said she has loved watching the kids' journey with wheelchair basketball. "Our intention with this program is for them to develop a team, to learn how to play, and to become competitive and participate in tournaments around the southeast,"Fitzmorris said. 

The team said they have found the perfect coach for the job. Jeff Townsend said he's played wheelchair basketball professionally in countries like Australia, Spain and Asia. Now he says it's his turn to teach. 

"My career is coming to an end as a player but i want to take what I've learned to the next generation so these kids, they're exactly what I want, they're so young and so energetic, they want to learn everything they can," Townsend said. 

Hudson no longer has to travel, he can stay close to home, a home that now includes new friends, a new coach and a constant love for wheelchair basketball.  "As a mom, when you watch your kid interact with others, it's just, to watch their face light up, it's a feeling of pride and accomplishment that you've been able to provide that for them," Tucker said. 

The team practices every Thursday from 5-6 p.m. at the Saint Matthews United Methodist Church in Greenville. They started a GoFundMe page to help pay for wheelchairs so the players can play competitively. 

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