Iowa's youth wheelchair basketball team heads to Nationals - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's youth wheelchair basketball team heads to Nationals

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

One basket at a time, a youth wheelchair basketball team has made it to Nationals.

There are 10 players on The Rolling Panthers Youth Wheelchair Basketball Team and they're all 13-years-old or younger. Even though the players are disabled, it's not stopping them from trying the sport and ultimately making it to Nationals.

The Rolling Panthers are perfecting their skills this week, before heading to The National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in April.

"Iowa is being represented in The National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament by The Rolling Panthers as a first year team," said Vincen Liddle, Rolling Panthers Head Coach.

"It's never been done before, so I was pretty excited about that," said AJ Miller, player.

The Rolling Panthers team is Iowa's first youth wheelchair basketball team.

"These kids have proven they want it, they want to play and they want to compete at the highest level," said Liddle.

"My favorite is getting to know that there are other people in your shoes, with a disability out there," said Jayden Stafford, player.

For most of the players, this is their first time playing basketball, while others have been playing for a few years, like 11-year-old Stafford.

"Don't be afraid, take a risk, don't be afraid to try something, keep practicing at it, you'll get better," advised Stafford.

Coach Liddle says he's hoping the team's success will show the players they can do anything.

"They could say, 'hey I am stuck in a chair what am I going to do with my life? You know what can I do?" said Liddle. "We are breaking the stigma of you can do anything, you can adapt and overcome."

"Just because you have a disability doesn't mean you can't do anything, you can go out and do whatever you want," said Stafford.

The team will head to nationals in Kentucky April 12. Nearly 100 teams will be there, but the Panthers are in a division with 16 other teams.

The Rolling Panthers will be holding a pancake breakfast next weekend. For details on that and to follow their journey to Nationals, CLICK HERE.

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