Wallbangers wheelchair basketball practices return to Grand Forks

NDAD’s Wallbangers wheelchair basketball program practices have returned to Grand Forks after years of practices held in Crookston, Minn., nearly a half hour’s drive to the southeast.

NDAD is now holding its Sunday Wallbangers practices at St. Mary’s Elementary School, 216 Belmont Road, near the southern edge of downtown Grand Forks. The gymnasium is attached to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

For a number of years, the Wallbangers used Crookston’s Highland Middle School gymnasium facility. “They were very good to us — very, very good to us – for letting us use that gym. We’re appreciative,” said Wallbangers manager Terry Olmstead said.

Before that, the old Crookston High School was used, he said. Back in the ‘90s, the Wallbangers used the gymnasium at what is now Valley Middle School, he said.

The Wallbangers practices in Grand Forks are at 4 p.m. Sundays. The practices are for teens and adults.

Both wheelchair and non-wheelchair users are welcome to participate in Wallbangers basketball practices, which include skills sessions and scrimmages, Olmstead said. NDAD provides manual wheelchairs for participants who lack them.

A person with a disability younger than 14 could qualify to play upon certification by a qualified therapist, Olmstead said.

Younger children otherwise are welcome to come and watch practices, but they will not be allowed to participate. If you bring these children, you must provide separate supervision for them, for safety reasons, according to NDAD.

The Wallbangers were founded in 1972 by a group of players with disabilities at the University of North Dakota and elsewhere in the Grand Forks area. Its purpose then and now is to provide recreation and competitive physical activities for people.

When the team played in sanctioned competition, players were classified according to the degrees of their disabilities.

The Wallbangers continue to participate in exhibition wheelchair basketball games and fundraisers to raise awareness of the sport.

For more information about Wallbangers wheelchair basketball, contact Olmstead at (701) 741-1307 or tolmstead@ndad.org.

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2 Responses to Wallbangers wheelchair basketball practices return to Grand Forks

  1. David Hand says:

    Hi my name is David Hand

    I been looking around and notice you have a wheelchair basketball team if i’m not correct.

    I used to play for the Virginia beach sun wheelers team in Virginia beach Virginia. Maybe you have heard of the team maybe not. anyhow I was thinking of getting back into sports. I have done track and field with 3 world records under my belt and have made it to the final four in phoenix Arizona for wheelchair basketball. Its been a while but I loved competing when I did. I don’t have any wheelchairs since I use my crutches daily. I’m a cancer survivor with my left leg amputated above knee since 1989. I live here in Minot ND not to far from grand forks. If you have any info about your team etc i’d appreciate it. thanks for your time.

    David Hand

    • Avatar of mikebrue mikebrue says:

      Please contact Terry Olmstead here at NDAD at (701) 775-5577, and he’ll be happy to tell you more about the Wallbangers. Terry oversees NDAD’s Wallbangers program. Thanks.

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