'It's a very legit sport': Young wheelchair basketball player shows classmates how it's done

  • Jason Stubbeman, explains the fundamentals of wheelchair basketball to sixth-grade students at Crone Middle School in Naperville. Student Drew Beutel, center, plays on a wheelchair basketball team.

      Jason Stubbeman, explains the fundamentals of wheelchair basketball to sixth-grade students at Crone Middle School in Naperville. Student Drew Beutel, center, plays on a wheelchair basketball team. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Physical education teacher Eric Williams and Crone Middle School sixth-grader Drew Beutel demonstrate wheelchair basketball techniques to Drew's classmates.

      Physical education teacher Eric Williams and Crone Middle School sixth-grader Drew Beutel demonstrate wheelchair basketball techniques to Drew's classmates. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Drew Beutel, center, plays wheelchair basketball Monday with his sixth-grade classmates at Crone Middle School in Naperville.

      Drew Beutel, center, plays wheelchair basketball Monday with his sixth-grade classmates at Crone Middle School in Naperville. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Sixth-grader students give wheelchair basketball a try Monday at Crone Middle School in Naperville.

      Sixth-grader students give wheelchair basketball a try Monday at Crone Middle School in Naperville. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/4/2018 7:59 PM

Drew Beutel's sixth-grade peers at Crone Middle School in Naperville got the chance Monday to experience a sport Drew has been playing since he was 5: wheelchair basketball.

Coach Jason Stubbeman, from Synergy Adaptive Athletics, visited Crone with 20 wheelchairs in tow to teach three classes of students how to dribble while in a chair and the basics of the game. After an introduction about the rules and some dribbling drills, students got the chance to play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's a very legit sport," Stubbeman told the students. "It's a Paralympic sport. So you can even represent your country."

Drew uses a wheelchair for most of his day at school and said he enjoys playing basketball in a chair; it's even taught him to be more patient and understanding with others.

Drew's gym teacher, Eric Williams, set up the wheelchair basketball lesson and game after hearing from Drew's father about his involvement on the Synergy team.

"It's a really neat thing because of raising awareness," Williams said about young wheelchair players, "but also just understanding that these are athletes and the challenges they go through."

• Daily Herald staff photographer Bev Horne contributed to this report.

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