(July 06, 2018) – Wooster City School District’s Wheelchair Basketball Team was recently honored at the Ohio Statehouse on June 27 by the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives.
At the Statehouse, the team took part in sessions of both the Senate and House. Wooster’s team, which is the first-ever wheelchair basketball team in the state, was recognized for hosting and winning the first interscholastic state tournament this year.
Wooster’s wheelchair basketball team is made up of 10 students grades 1-12, including Maydson Followay, Ryan Hannan, Colin Harig, Evan Heller, Hailey Hines, Makayla Maxwell, Ashton Mohn, Beau Vandermark, Karlee West and Kaylee West.
The team was created in 2015 after Lisa Followay, the executive director of Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO), brought the idea for a partnership to the school district. ASPO is a nonprofit organization established to promote the health and wellness of individuals with physical disabilities.
With Followay’s guidance and Athletic Director, Andy Kellar’s enthusiasm, Wooster’s team has had three successful seasons, scrimmaging against community-based teams and staff members. Now, there are five school-based wheelchair basketball teams in Ohio thanks to ASPO’s advocacy, including Austintown, Massillon, Plain Local and Tallmadge.
Wooster’s team is coached by Followay’s husband, Brett, and their son, Casey. The coaches, along with Kellar, accompanied the team’s players to the Statehouse on June 27 to receive their recognition.
“Thank you to Wooster City School District for championing the first program and hosting the interscholastic tournament this year,” said Followay. “I would also like to say thank you to our state legislature for seeing the potential in student athletes with disabilities and for investing in this program to change the status quo. We look forward to continued support and growth of the program across the state.”
Currently, Wooster’s team is funded by legislative support and several private foundations. In order to grow and expand the interscholastic wheelchair basketball program, the program must garner additional legislative support. To learn more about this effort and the program, please visit www.adaptivesportsohio.org.
“We are incredibly proud of the ASPO coaches, athletes and our ASPO partnership,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs. “Being able to provide these students with an opportunity that the rest of us may take for granted is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Thank you to the Ohio Statehouse for recognizing and celebrating the team’s accomplishments and especially to the Followay’s for their vision and advocacy.