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Warrior Transition Battalion shoots hoops with Team Robins

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs

For the second time, Robins hosted a Wheelchair Basketball Clinic as part of its annual Disability Awareness Month.
Harlon Matthews, part of the Henry County Park and Recreation Department’s wheelchair sports, brought several wheelchairs for Team Robins members to try.

The Warrior Transition Battalion from Fort Benning, Georgia, fielded a team to not only demonstrate the sport but to take on Air Force members.
“I’ve played basketball all my life but I can’t stand up,” said Sgt. Latoya Burnette of the WTB. After her injury, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to play anymore.

“It’s such an awesome program,” she said of the WTB wheelchair team.

The sport is a way to develop camaraderie between fellow wounded warriors but it also provides a way for athletes to continue to participate in a sport they’re passionate about.

Last year, Col. Jarvis Baker, 78th Mission Support Group commander, challenged the base to do bigger and better things with the clinic. Baker did his part by getting strapped into a wheelchair to test his skills.

“This is a good opportunity for us to say this is important,” he said. “Our program is going to get stronger.”

The rules are the same as in regular basketball. One can’t push the chair more than twice without being called for traveling, but there’s no double dribbling foul in wheelchair basketball.

“Let the wheel do the work,” Matthews told Air Force clinic participants.

To be able to maneuver and control the wheelchair is something that takes practice and dedication. For Burnette, she was ready to give up, but said she’s glad she got the hang of it. It allows her to play the sport she loves.

“It’s a blessing that we can still play,” she said.