GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair Basketball tournament returned to Grand Rapids Saturday.
The tournament kicked off with seven different teams from across the country in competition. It was the first tournament played since March 2020.
Grand Rapids’ Mary Free Bed Pacers and Rollin’ Drive teams were part of the action. The Pacers are a National Wheelchair Basketball Association DI team. The Rollin’ Drive is an NWBA DIII team for entry-level players.
Players like Jimmy Moceri, 32, were excited to return to the court. Moceri began playing wheelchair basketball when he was 17 and has competed in many tournaments since.
Prior to using a wheelchair, Moceri loved the sport and couldn’t imagine not playing again. It was just as difficult not being able to play during the pandemic.
“I remember we were at nationals and we got fifth. We drive home and the world was shutdown for x amount of months. So, it was super weird and a big adjustment. Not being able to exercise and play basketball really wears on you overtime so it’s so nice to back,” Morceri said.
Ethan Duzan, 21, has been using a wheelchair for the last two years after he lost his led during a skiing incident. It was his first time ever participating in a competitive sport since the injury.
“It’s my first time playing since I lost my leg. It’s my first time playing in a sport since then… new experience so it was fun,” he said.
Games will kickoff again on Sunday at the Mary Free Bed YMCA.