Iowa Chairiots' wheelchairs replaced, back on the basketball cou - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Chairiots' wheelchairs replaced, back on the basketball court

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

The Iowa Chairiots wheelchair basketball team is no longer on the sidelines.

The group of wheelchair-bound basketball players were stuck after more than a dozen of their wheelchairs were stolen back in December.

"We just didn't have all the additional chairs we needed, so this is huge, today is like Christmas to all of us," said Amy Vanderkamp.

Vanderkamp has been with the team for only three months and says when she joined, there we're enough wheelchairs. She says when the chairs were stolen, it literally took away their only way to play.

However, Tuesday, their brand new wheels rolled in just in time for their practice game.

"They're made to be an extension of your body, that's actually what you want to aim for, but it's exciting it's almost like a dream, said SportAbility director Jayden Barrett. "We've been out of commission for six months, so it's going to take a little bit for us to get back in the swing of things."

Although it sure didn't take take long, Barrett says he thought it would take years to recover what was lost.

The team had several fundraisers along with many donations from individuals and companies.

All 13 of their specially-adapted wheelchairs have been replaced with new ones, and there's five more still on they way.

"Being in a wheelchair is not any different than an enabled body person walking," said Vanderkamp. "The wheelchairs are just a part of us and just how we get from one place to another."

While the team admits they had to jump through hoops, now they're glad they're they can make them.

"We finally are able to get back on the court and basically have part of our body back," said Vanderkamp.

The team said they wouldn't have been able to replace the chairs without the donations from all across eastern Iowa.

The team will play against University of Iowa athletes Friday, in their wheelchair challenge.

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