Local kids head to national tournament for wheelchair basketball

A wheelchair basketball team from Virginia is heading to a national tournament.

FALLS CHURCH, VA - There's no doubt that living with a disability can be difficult, but the challenge of limited mobility is not stopping local kids from competing. The Fairfax Falcons, a wheelchair basketball team with players from all over the region, is heading to a national tournament later this month.

"Everybody's strong here," said 15-year-old Daniel Malloy of Bowie. "And everyone still has the will to play, loves basketball, loves the sport."

The tournament will be held from March 30 until April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Falcons Varsity squad will face off against 31 other teams, and the prep team will play against 15 competitors.

"We're ranked 16th in the world," said Malloy. "And it's amazing to have that feeling, knowing that you're a top 20 team in the country."

The program accepts kids from the age of four to 22, so long as they have not yet graduated from high school.

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"This team, it's my family," said DJ Foreman, a 17-year-old senior from Quantico. "Before this, I didn't really have a purpose. I didn't really know what to do with my ability. It really changed my life a lot."

Ten-year-old Ryan Nguyen, of Germantown, just joined the team, and said he was looking for a community.

"No one in my school is in a wheelchair, only me" he said. "I don't feel alone anymore when I see people in a wheelchair."

Eric Rode is the coach of the team, although it wasn't long ago that he was a player on the squad himself.

"It's just an opportunity to come out here and play some basketball," he said. "Which a lot of times is difficult, especially if you're in a chair."

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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