Promoting rehabilitation of the differently abled through sports
PADS wheelchair basketball
Over 35 aspiring athletes participated in the Philippine Accessible Disability Services (PADS) Inc. Wheelchair Basketball Program at Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex (MCCSC).
PADS Inc. Executive Officer John Paul Maunes headed the sports clinic together with former Thailand National Wheelchair Basketball Team head coach Michael Schreiner where they started off with a brief lecture unto the tournament officials as well as to the players.
“What we are doing right now is a good way of promoting the rehabilitation of differently abled people through sports,” Maunes said. “Especially now that the City of Mandaue will be erecting an Adaptive Sports and Recreational Rehabilitation Center, conducting this clinic is a great way to start things off.”
Coach Schreiner admittedly said that the wheelchair basketball is not really widely-known yet in the Philippines compared to other countries.
“I am hoping that these two days of training will help encourage players with disabilities to join these kind of activities.” Schreiner said.
Way back in his younger years, Schreiner used to be a successful football player at his hometown in Heidelberg, Germany.
In 1981, he got into an accident, which disabled the lower part of his body.
“Sports is my life. While I was in the hospital, I saw people like me playing basketball and from then on it became my rebound.” Mitsch said.
For 16 years, Mitsch played in the German Wheelchair Basketball League. After those years, he retired as a player and took coaching lessons.
In 2009, 59-year-old Mitsch helped Thailand win the gold medals in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Para Games.
Five years later, the latter was approached by the Philippine Team, asking him to be a consultant. He agreed and assisted them in winning the 2014 SEA Para Games in Manila. He still continues to be a consultant up until now.
Meanwhile, Maunes said they are looking forward in organizing wheelchair basketball tournaments in the near future.
“Around May, maybe we can come up with a summer league,” he said.
“I hope participants will continue playing. Don’t let disability hinder you.” Mitsch said.
Schreiner cited that the 2019 SEA Para Games will take place in the country.
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