Students in Corner Brook trade in their hightops for wheels

Students at Corner Brook Intermediate who had the opportunity to play wheelchair basketball for the first time have a new perspective on the challenging sport.

"It was really fun to see how people who can't walk play basketball. It was really hard turning and stuff because I had never done it before," said Grade 8 student Chloe Keating.

Newfoundland and Labrador's Wheelchair Sports Association donated eight wheelchairs to the school's physical education curriculum for several weeks so all students could play a game.

"It's very difficult at first. There's a knack to getting that wheelchair moving, maneuvering it in the right direction. and trying to play basketball and wheel the chair at the same time. it's quite tricky," said physical education teacher George Dolomount.

The rules of the game are similar to regular basketball. Even the net is at the same height.

Players dribble the ball after every two pushes of the chair. A third push is considered a travel, and there is no double dribbling in wheelchair basketball. 

All Grade 8 students at the school had two gym classes with the wheelchairs. Many found it difficult to push the chair across the gym floor while holding the ball in their lap.

Grade 8 student Francisco Freyria says his arms were quite sore from trying to shoot the ball at the basket. 

"Its a different way of playing this kind of sport. I've never really thought about how people who play wheelchair basketball felt and I think its a great opportunity for us to playing like this," said Freyria.

"I think they should teach this in every school because its a great way to see the perspective of other people." 

While no students at the junior high require a wheelchair, their teacher believes they have a whole new perspective for what its like to use one.

"We are always looking to implement new activities to enhance student participation and motivation, and we thought it would also allow students to gain an appreciation for people who are confined to a wheelchair on a daily basis," said Dolomount.