WKU forward Anyigbo headlines wheelchair basketball event

Hasani Grayson

WKU basketball player Kene Anyigbo was playing his favorite sport Thursday night, but this time with a twist.

Anyigbo participated in a wheelchair basketball event at Preston Center, organized by Intramural Recreational Sports and Student Disabilities.

“It was challenging at first but I’m just glad I got out there and tried something new, and I loved it,” he said. 

Anyigbo is sidelined in practice after suffering from Head Coach Ken McDonald called a “knee jolt” at Hilltopper Hysteria last Friday.

Student Disabilities Coordinator Matt Davis helped organize the game in order to help make students aware of the sport and what athletes can be capable of after being faced with a disability.

“It’s always fun to do these exhibitions,” Davis said. “People don’t realize that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t play sports.”

Intramural Recreational Sports and Student Disabilities partnered to put on the event. 

Davis, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a disease called spina bifida, said that he found an extra challenge in being from a small town when he looked to get involved with sports.

“Because I’m from Bowling Green there aren’t a lot of organized sports,” he said. “If you live in a small town you really don’t have access to adaptive sports resources.”

One of Davis’ team mates is Kenny Green, a Nashville Native who was born with a severely clubbed foot and had his left leg below the knee amputated at a young age. Green said that despite the limited mobility of the players, the game is still exciting.

“It’s more of a contact sport than regular basketball is,” he said. “There’s a lot of bumping and running into each other.”

When giving a brief run-down of the rules to students shortly before tip-off, Green pointed out that fouls were “kind of a gray area” and that a lot of the wheelchairs being used were specially modified for the extra contact with a guard around the players feet and a fifth wheel in the back for extra stability.

After the experienced wheelchair basketball players had been on the floor for a while, they invited some volunteers in attendance to play in a game where the use of their legs was prohibited.

Elizabethtown Andrea Weaver, who only participates in the sport of swimming, said that that eliminating the use of her lower body was difficult.

“So you’re used to using your legs and you can’t and it’s hard because you still want to,” she said. 

Davis said that he was pleased with the turn out and hopes that the even showed how competitive wheelchair sports can be.

“Stuff like this is always a fan favorite with the students since hey enjoy the athletic piece of it,” he said.