Beavercreek’s newly-formed wheelchair basketball team plays first home game

Credit: Aimee Hancock

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The Rolling Beavers played the Cincinnati Dragons for the team's first-ever home game Saturday.

Credit: Aimee Hancock

BEAVERCREEK — A stadium full of friends, family and fans showed up to support the Beavercreek Rolling Beavers’ first-ever home basketball game against the Cincinnati Dragons on Saturday afternoon.

The Rolling Beavers are a wheelchair basketball team for students — the first of its kind in the southwest Ohio region — that was formed in 2021 as a result of collaboration between Beavercreek parents, the Beavercreek City School District and Adaptive Sports Ohio (ASO).

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The Rolling Beavers play defense against the Cincinnati Dragons during the team's first-ever home game Saturday.

The Rolling Beavers play defense against the Cincinnati Dragons during the team's first-ever home game Saturday.

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The Rolling Beavers play defense against the Cincinnati Dragons during the team's first-ever home game Saturday.

The team is coached by Jim McCormack, James Terpenning, and Richard Drye. Terpenning, a parent of Beavercreek students, is also a successful wheelchair athlete, having participated in the Paralympics four times, earning a gold and bronze medal in swimming.

According to Terpenning, the Rolling Beavers are one of just eight school-based wheelchair basketball teams in the state. There are also community-run teams throughout the state that participate within the ASO program, he said.

According to McCormack, the program has so far had a great response in Beavercreek.

“The kids have responded extremely positively,” McCormack said. “For a lot of our disabled kids, this is the first time they’ve ever been on a sports team, so it’s new, exciting and I think they love being a part of it.”

McCormack said that not all of the team’s players are disabled, noting that the Rolling Beavers has five able-bodied kids along with its nine who do have disabilities.

Enora McEllroy is a sixth grader at Beavercreek and a player for the Rolling Beavers. While she doesn’t use a wheelchair every day, she has cerebral palsy, which has resulted in some physical disabilities. She said she’s happy to have the opportunity to play a sport.

“I feel like it’s really cool and I see a lot of basketball players do it and I really love basketball,” she said.

Enora’s mother, Karis, said her daughter has been interested in the sport for years.

“She’s been wanting to play basketball for a couple years, but because of her physical disabilities, she just wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other kids,” she said. “So we found this and it’s perfect.”

Brian Veverka, programs director for ASO, said the organization aims to provide a way for kids with disabilities to participate in activities they may otherwise miss out on.

“With Adaptive Sports Ohio, we do a lot programs and sports around the state, eliminating barriers for participation for people with physical disabilities,” he said. “Our interscholastic wheelchair basketball program is one way we do that.”

He said ASO’s mission is important in more ways than one for the wellbeing of kids with disabilities.

“Sports is an incredible thing for everybody, and if you think of a typical high school student, they get a social experience, a physical experience, and they reduce stress, all through playing sports,” Veverka said. “Unfortunately, a lot of our wheelchair athletes or those with disabilities don’t even consider themselves an athlete because they’ve never had a chance to do something like this before, so it means the world to them.”

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