Ohio Interscholastic Wheelchair Basketball Championship Game takes place in M.A.C.C.

Sydney Brown, TV2 Reporter

Michael Neenan, Reporter

The Ohio Interscholastic Wheelchair Basketball Championship game on Saturday took place in the M.A.C. Center between the Wooster Wheelchair Generals and Austintown Wheelchair Falcons.

Wooster defeated Austintown by a score of 18-9, winning their fifth consecutive state title.

After the game, the championship trophy as well as other league awards were handed out by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio State Representative Gail Pavliga and Paralympian Paul Schulte.

In celebration, Wooster cut the net off the basket and draped it over the championship trophy.

The wheelchair basketball league is governed by the Ohio Interscholastic Adaptive Sports, which was established by Adaptive Sports Ohio.

According to the Adaptive Sports Ohio website, President Lisa Followay founded the league in 2015 with the support of the Ohio State Legislature.

“It’s important for kids with disabilities to have an opportunity to play sports and represent their schools,” Followay said.


The league currently has eight participating school districts. Each team consists of disabled and non-disabled players ranging from grades one to 12.

Wooster Wheelchair Generals’ player Ryan Hannan rolls down the court with the ball in tow during the championship game on Feb. 25, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

“What we were trying to do with the creation of the league in 2015, when serving the first team, is to support school districts as they open up their athletic programs to students with disabilities,” Followay said. “Our vision is that all six-hundred are going to offer some type of activity for students with disabilities within their district.”

Commissioner Brian Veverka spoke on the league’s expansion for the 2023-24 season.

“We’re gonna be adding five new teams for this upcoming season,” Veverka said. “We started in 2015 with just Wooster first, then the Massillon Tigers joined in shortly afterwards the following year and we slowly had the growth to where we are now.”

Paralympian Paul Schulte was the evening’s guest speaker at halftime.

After the game Schulte spoke about the importance of the OIAS Wheelchair Basketball.

“I’m not aware of any scholastic state championship with multiple teams that is actively growing school districts and giving them the tools to build up more teams anywhere in the country,” Schulte said. “The neat part is that the organization and the people that are doing it aren’t just building something up and saying ‘Hey look, Isn’t this cool? Isn’t this nice?’ which will be good to in in of itself, but that they are also keeping record of how they’re doing it and creating a cookie cutter program.”

Schulte was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame as part of its 2022 class.

President Lisa Followay spoke about her hopes for the league’s future.

“We are eight years in and we have 13 teams that have signed on to participate for next year,” Followay said. “So I think realistically, we’ll probably get to 20 to 25 in the next five years.”

Michael Neenan is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

Sydney Brown is a TV2 reporter. Contact her at [email protected]