December, 2018

Cardinals Changing the Game and Lives

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Cardinals Changing the Game and Lives

Dec 4 2018

By Preston Willett |

Posted: Sat 10:24 PM, Dec 01, 2018  |

Updated: Sat 10:42 PM, Dec 01, 2018

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) — On this court the wheels are always turning, which is why the game can take time to come into focus.

“When people first see the sport,” Charlottesville Cardinals Coach Tom Vandever said, a local wheelchair basketball game, “All they see are the wheelchairs for about five minutes and then the wheelchairs fade away and that’s when they see the athletes.”

Every athlete has their story for how the sport came to them from bad knees to cancer.

“I was lucky I was able to kind of walk into it slowly,” Jacob Tyree said, who was nine-years-old when it was discovered he had a spinal cord tumor, “People who are in car accidents that’s like an instantaneous change of your life.”

“14-years-old I wrecked a bike and broke my back,” team captain Brandon Rush said, “So I was at a children’s rehab and the team came and did a demonstration there.”

For people like Rush and Tyree in one of their most trying times, the Charlottesville Cardinals opened a door to not only athletics but a community.

“This is my family man, I started playing with them when I was 14,” Rush said, “So they helped me grow up, they helped me mature for sure.”

“For a lot of players and athletes it changes their lives from that,” National Wheelchair Basketball Association Commissioner Buddy Barnes said, “They may have gone a certain path, but now they see things through a different light, through a different window actually.”

But make no mistake these athletes are here to play, especially the Cardinals, ranked in the top-ten nationally. With players coming from hours away to practice and play throughout the season.

“We do this on an everyday basis, this isn’t something we just oh yeah we kind of meat every once in awhile and do it as a pick up thing,” Tyree said,” Our players are in the gym multiple times a week, where we stick to a regiment, we watch what we eat.”

Their ultimate to goal to spread the game to everyone.

“Bring people out that have never seen wheelchair basketball before,” Tyree said, “Get them involved in the sport and it changes their life it really does.”