April 14, 2009 12:00AM
Five professional teams from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas are set to compete in the first-ever Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment Gorilla Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, to be held from Dec. 19-21 at the Student Recreation Center and Kansas National Guard Armory at Pittsburg State University.
The tournament, the first of its kind in the Pittsburg area, will pit the teams against one another in games that are nearly as fast and just as intense as traditional basketball. Intercollegiate rules will be enforced, with just a few modifications, such as allowing players two pushes of their wheelchair before they have to dribble the ball.
The tournament will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20. Prior to the games, a three-hour referee's workshop will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, in Room 219 of the recreation center. The workshop is open to the public at no cost, but seating is limited and participants must register by Thursday, Dec. 18.
Graduate assistant Jason Miori will help train the referees in conjunction with National Wheelchair Basketball Association officials.
"We see the training workshop as part of the education and service mission of the university," said Dan Ferguson, associate professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation. "We have a therapeutic recreation undergraduate program and a fitness management program, and we're trying to develop an awareness and give people experience with this."
Workshop attendees will be able to take a test to become NWBA-certified referees.
"We're hoping some folks in the community will come and some who are in wheelchairs will want to get involved," Ferguson said. "Ultimately, we would like Pittsburg to become a hub for these activities. We're right in the middle of where these teams are located."
Competing teams include the Kansas Wheelhawks from Topeka, the Kansas City Thunder, the St. Louis Rolling Rams, the Mid-America Paralyzed Veterans Association Chargers from Oklahoma, and the no. 1-ranked Rollin' Razorbacks from Arkansas.
Two games will be played simultaneously on Dec. 20 and 21, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday afternoon, Dec. 21.
The tournament is sponsored by Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment, the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at PSU, and the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
For more information, contact Ferguson at (620) 235-4911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.