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Playing with Friends: Wheelchair Basketball at the Y

10.18.2019

wheelchairbballRCiarlo Liples is a typical 9-year old boy who likes to play basketball with friends. He also has Spina Bifida, a birth defect, and is paralyzed from the waist down.

“He’s a typical kid,” says his mother Kira Liples. “He just happens to use a wheelchair.”

The Liples family are longtime members of the Doylestown branch of the Y, and parents to another son Dominic who recently passed away from brain cancer at age 8. They love the community environment and the fact that the Y serves everyone, regardless of ability.

Currently, the family drives over two hours weekly for Ciarlo to participate in a wheelchair basketball program for children with lower extremity disabilities.

Wanting her son to participate in programming at their home YMCA, Liples discussed her frustrations with good friends and Y staff Katie Piperno and Jaime Koller, who created a proposal for the program which was ultimately supported by Andrew Yannarella, regional director of youth sports at the Y, for the Fall II session at the Doylestown branch. The Y is also investing in and will supply Numotion Motivation Multisports wheelchairs for children to use while they participate in the program.

‘We All Wheel’ is a staff-led, recreational youth wheelchair basketball program that includes drills, practice and games. Children, age 8-15, with lower body extremity disabilities play wheelchair basketball with their able-bodies peers. Games are played on half court with a net height of 8-1/2 feet. The program will run on Fridays, beginning November 1, 5:15PM-6:15PM. All players must be able to play independently without need of assistance or a helper.

An open house is planned for November 1, 5:15PM at the Doylestown branch. Families who are interested are also encouraged to reach out to Yannarella at ayannarella@ymcabucks.org or 215.348.8131, x1176.

“I keep saying: every child should be able to play with friends,” says Liples. “I’m just thrilled that we’re bringing this program to our home YMCA so that it will benefit so many children in our area.”