Only 1 in 10 young wheelchair users play sports. Loka Heroes and the Swedish Basketball Federation (SBBF) want to change this through the new initiative “Ballers on Wheels”. Together with the Swedish wheelchair basketball professionals, Hillevi Hansson and Louise Forell, they are now investing in getting wheelchair basketball started in more locations and are therefore looking for Loka Heroes around Sweden who want to start teams.
In Sweden there are currently only five clubs that are involved in wheelchair basketball, in Norrköping, Malmö, Gothenburg, and Stockholm. The Ballers on Wheels initiative aims to help spread the sport and raise interest in wheelchair basketball in more locations and attract more participants. The aim is to eventually get enough players to have a league with a tournament between the teams. The initiative comes from Loka Heroes, who for years supported enthusiasts who make a difference in society through basketball. There are great opportunities to develop wheelchair basketball with the help of national team players Hillevi Hansson and Louise Forell who have many years of experience of playing at professional level. Louise Forell, who currently plays for Nacka, welcomes the initiative:
“Our sport is amazing and accessible to many people – it’s fast paced, tough, and challenging. The joy and community that surrounds the sport is something that I hope more people will take the chance to experience.”
Ballers on Wheels kicks off in the fall, but already they are looking for more Loka Heroes who want to start teams, and children and young people who want to start playing. The project will provide support in the form of funding, materials, sports wheelchairs, and commitment to everyone who wants to start a team.
“Anyone with the will, ambition, and interest will be given the chance, so now we’re searching for these people nationwide as well as locally. The hope is that so many people will want to join that we can start a league, that would be our dream,” says Hillevi Hansson, who is currently involved in the German Wheelchair Basketball League.
Having the opportunity to exercise and participate in sport is important for everyone and research shows that it has positive effects on both mental and physical health. If you are in a wheelchair, your requirements are different, therefore the initiative aims to help you train on your own terms together with friends, siblings, and others. In sports wheelchairs on the basketball court, everyone has the same opportunities.
Only 1 in 10 young wheelchair users play sports. This is a pity because sport is important for their mental and physical health. The reasons for this are certainly manifold, but one of the main ones is that accessibility to sport is so limited.
Take basketball for example, in all of Sweden there are only five clubs. Two in Stockholm, one in Norrköping, Gothenburg, and Malmö. The initiatives aim is to change this together with their ambassadors and wheelchair basketball professionals Hillevi Hansson and Louise Forell. They are now looking for Loka Heroes all over Sweden who want to start wheelchair teams. The goal is to get more people to play, and to have as many teams as possible so they can create the first wheelchair league for children and young people. The initiative is called “Ballers on Wheels” and everyone is welcome. As Loka Heroes and SBBF think everyone has the right to play basketball. Loka Heroes will support the teams with funding, sports wheelchairs, materials, encouragement, and marketing. Accompanying us on our journey are seven fantastic Loka Heroes who want to get more children and young people to play wheelchair basketball. Go to ballersonwheels.se and register your interest if you want to start playing.