Wheelchair basketball gives accessibility insights to students at BYU-Idaho on Tuesdays and Fridays in the John W. Hart Building.

The wheelchair basketball group will be holding their version of March Madness on Friday.

Wheelchair basketball started in the fall semester of 2022.

Kallianne Borden started the group with her friend Alden Apedaile, who are both studying therapeutic recreation.

“I started it with a student named Alden, and honestly it was more his idea than mine,” Borden said. “I came the first night and I volunteered just to make a flyer for it just because, you know, the more people that show up, the more fun it is.”

Borden says one of her favorite parts of leading the group is being able to help and apply what she is learning about in school to benefit and help her peers.

“Making stuff accessible is like kind of the whole deal about our major. It’s therapeutic recreation, and it’s just a lot of fun.”

Students use wheelchairs made in a shop class over 25 years ago.

Students use wheelchairs made in a shop class over 25 years ago. Photo credit: Mattie Johnson

Borden said she loved playing basketball, but it has become riskier to play since she has undergone five tailbone surgeries. Wheelchair basketball has provided a way for her to enjoy the sport she loves without the risk of further injuries.

“I used to play basketball as a kid,” Borden said. “So this is a fun way for me to be able to still enjoy the sport that I used to play as a kid with less risk of injuring something that I used to have surgery on.”

Olivia Haux, another student majoring in therapeutic recreation, is a Wheelchair Basketball regular. Haux said the group welcomes everyone to come play.

“It’s really good for the rec corp majors because this is something that they can train in, adaptive sports,” Haux said. “And we do have people come who are wheelchair bound, and they’re really fun to be around because they’re so much better at it than we are.”

Haux said the biggest difference in wheelchair basketball compared to its more common counterpart lies in the type of motions and controls players have.

“Oh, it’s just so fun,” Haux said. “You have to have a different kind of control, different kind of motion. You can’t be as aggressive so it’s more control and strategy and a good arm and back workout too.”

Students watch basketball fly through air

Students watch basketball fly through air. Photo credit: Mattie Johnson

Borden mentioned that the group uses wheelchairs made by students in a shop class over 25 years ago.

“They’re hardy, they’re out living all of the wheelchairs,” Borden said. “They can just take a hit.”

Haux mentioned the wheelchairs also have a different structure making them better for playing sports.

“So they’re made for sports so the angles a little bit different, gives you more speed, more stability,” Haux said. “It’s easier to grab on than it is on a normal wheelchair.

For more information and updates on the group, students can follow their Instagram and check for times and locations on I-Belong.