Being a student-athlete is hard work. Committing time to homework, tests, practices, games and treatment presents a variety of challenges every day. But sometimes, it is good to take a little break from it all and realize that there are other challenges that people have to face on a daily basis.

The men’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams were able to experience some of those challenges as they volunteered to participate in the Paralympic Experience, presented by Sportable, VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership and U.S. Paralympics.

On March 22, the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, home of VCU basketball and volleyball, became the home of an event where athletes with and without physical disabilities could learn from each other and participate in adaptive sports.

The VCU Men’s Basketball team strapped their extra long frames in wheelchairs to participate in wheelchair basketball, while the Volleyball team could not a use high vertical leap to block as they took part in sitting volleyball.

Volleyball freshman Amanda Love understands how valuable events like these are.

“It means a lot because, for us to be able to stand up and play on the court and, now to be in a position of people who don’t have that ability,” she said. “It means a lot to me to help and teach anyone how to do it [play volleyball].”

Besides wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, participants had the option to use the erging machine, play wheelchair tennis and play table tennis.

Sportable is a Richmond-based, not-for-profit organization that works to create opportunities and transform lives through sport for those with physical disabilities.  Throughout the year, they offer 13 different sports programs in addition to several camps, clinics and events.

Written by Marle van Dessel, VCU Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant