GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) – The Mary Free Bed wheelchair basketball tournament returned to Grand Rapids on Saturday.
The tournament started with seven different teams from around the country competing. It was the first tournament that had been played since March 2020.
The teams Mary Free Bed Pacers and Rollin ‘Drive from Grand Rapids took part. The Pacers are a DI team for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. The Rollin ‘Drive is a beginner NWBA DIII team.
Players like Jimmy Moceri, 32, looked forward to returning to the field. Moceri started wheelchair basketball at the age of 17 and has competed in many tournaments since then.
Before using a wheelchair, Moceri loved the sport and couldn’t imagine stopping playing. It was just as difficult not being able to play during the pandemic.
“I remember we went to the national championship and finished fifth. We’re going home and the world has been shut down for x months. So it was super strange and a big change. Not being able to exercise and play basketball really puts a strain on you with overtime so it’s so nice to be back playing, ”said Morceri.
Ethan Duzan, 21, has been using a wheelchair for two years after losing his grip in a skiing accident. It was his first participation in competitive sport since the injury.
“This is my first time playing since I lost my leg. It’s been my first time since then… new experience so it was fun, ”he said.
On Sunday the games will start again at the Mary Free Bed YMCA.