NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Coastal Chairmen are making a name for themselves, entering their second season of Carolina Wheelchair Basketball.
While most of these players weren’t always in wheelchairs, they are living proof that sports can truly be everyone.
In sports, challenges are what make the game interesting, and overcoming them is what gives life and the game meaning.
For several Coastal Chairmen athletes, the sport of basketball gave them the opportunity to connect with others facing similar situations.
“I actually got started after I got injured in the Marine Corp. I was at Wounded Warrior Battalion and that’s kind of where I found my start on the Wounded Warrior team,” said Patrick Wyatt.
After Wyatt left the Marine Corps, he continued playing wheelchair basketball, connecting with other players looking to start a team in North Myrtle Beach.
“When people get injured, they think their life is over, their life is not over,” said Jesse Lind, director of wheelchair basketball.
Lind was injured in a car accident 20 years ago, breaking his back in three places.
After the injury, he discovered Coastal Adaptive Sports, a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating sports programs for those with disabilities.
“You know sometimes people have to leave their comfort zone,” said Lind.
Last season the team finished second in the Carolina Wheelchair Basketball Conference, playing teams all across the Carolinas.
“Honestly, I just love that it gets me out and gives me something to do, its just a way to bond and meet other people in the situation as well,” said Wyatt.
This season the team hopes to travel to larger tournaments throughout the country and build connections with sponsors throughout the community.
“We’d love to go to nationals and we’d love to go to all types of tournaments actually, but tournaments cost money and it gets pricey,” said Lind.
The team will officially announce their 2019 schedule on Saturday and are always looking for new players.
“It gives a new expectation on life when you’re out and you’re mobile, you’re active and start seeing that type of progression,” said Wyatt.
The team meets at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The open gym is free to the public and you don’t have to be handicapped to participate.