Tulsa Teen Uses Wheelchair Basketball To Overcome Physical Challenges

Saturday, March 18th 2017, 7:51 pm

Basketball is 15-year-old Tristan Schwartz's first love.

“Just something you can do when you're bored, go shoot around,” said Schwartz. “Get to meet a lot of new people, a lot of friends.”

He's been playing about half his life, and for three years he's been hitting the hardwood in a wheelchair for the Tulsa Jammers, one of several Tulsa area teams.

“You use your arms a lot more, a lot, lot more,” he said. “I'd say it's harder. There's also quite a bit more contact.”

The final season tournament is underway at The Center For Individuals with Physical Challenges.

Schwartz can walk but it's tougher than it used to be and running is out of the question for him.

“I have a brain tumor on my brain stem, my medulla,” he explained. “So, I have bad proprioception which means I can't like feel where my legs are, so I've got bad balance.

Doctors diagnosed Schwartz with an inoperable brain tumor when he was 12.

And a few months after, his dad suggested he get back out on the court and pick up wheelchair basketball.

“It's helped me transition from like walking every day,” said Schwartz.

 And it proved him what he already knew; he is not disabled, and he is just as able as he ever was.

“I mean, you get in the chair, you see it's ok,” he said. “You can still do sports just like you did before and have a good time.”

The Tulsa Jammers need more players, so the team is recruiting.

If you'd like to get more information about that or the program, visit the following links: The Center For Individuals with Physical ChallengesTulsa Jammers