Raising disability awareness through wheelchair basketball at Hidden Valley High School
GRANTS PASS, Ore.-- Mute day and blind day--those are just some of the events schools in Josephine County have for disability awareness week.
On Wednesday afternoon, the students took their learning to the basketball court.
Hidden Valley High School's basketball teams buckled down into wheelchairs. The players competed against the Rogue Valley Scorpions--the professional wheelchair basketball team in the area.
"It's a lot more tiring than I thought it was," varsity player Kolton Fisher said.
The Scorpions beat the Mustangs, but the real win from the court is what everyone is taking home from this event.
"I'm really thankful for what I have and also, it's taught me that they can do anything we can do, especially this basketball team, you wouldn't think that they can do sports, but they can and they're excellent at what they do," event organizer Kali Henderson said.
Henderson is a part of the Josephine County Foundation, which is a non-profit that allows students to be engaged in the community, develop leadership skills and learn about businesses all while contributing to a better community.
At the end of the game, Fisher said the event taught him "to respect people with disabilities more, like I always thought 'oh, they get a wheelchair they can do whatever they want,' but it's a lot more difficult to do things I can do."
Henderson and the other event organizer, Averie Ritcher said some students called the event "disrespectful," but they agree, the intent is to educate.
"Some kids have been screwing around or whatever with the equipment and not taking it seriously or whatever, but I've been taking it very seriously and appreciating that I have two legs and I have two eyes that work," Ritcher said.
One of the Rogue Valley Scorpions, Keith Avant, said the team's goal is to educate and inspire the youth.
"We wanted to be able to get out there and show them that there is still opportunities if you are disabled," Avant said.
This same project is also being done at New Hope Christian School, Illinois Valley and North Valley High Schools.
The Scorpions do have an upcoming home game on December 17th at 6:30 p.m. at North Medford High School. They will be competing against the San Diego Wolfpack. Click here for more information.