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Wheelchair basketball returns to Mary Free Bed

Tournament is back after two-year pause due to pandemic
Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Basketball
Posted at 8:32 PM, Jan 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-08 22:27:30-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Basketball players were back in action this weekend at Mary Free Bed. The rehab hospital in Grand Rapids hosted its first wheelchair basketball tournament since the start of the pandemic.

Players were happy to hit the hardwood after a two-year hiatus, including Eric Westover.

“Last time we played was actually when COVID started," he told FOX 17. "We were out in nationals in Wichita. We’re just excited to be out here today and getting back at it.”

Westover is a veteran on the court. This is his sixth year playing basketball through Mary Free Bed, making the return of this basketball tournament extra special.

It's a simple game with a big impact.

“I love the sport of wheelchair basketball," Westover said. "The physicality of it is kind of what’s drawn me to it.”

Westover's just one of several players who returned to the courts, and they're not just from West Michigan.

Teams from Minnesota, Chicago and even Florida made the trip.

“They came from all over," Westover said. "We’ll be traveling at the end of January down to Phoenix. Then, a couple weeks after that, we’ll be going out to Vegas, trying to get our games in. We gotta get 10 games to qualify for nationals. Nationals are again back in Wichita this year. Kind of all over.”

Westover can't help it to think about the future, but just having the game of basketball back was enough to make him, and others, smile.

READ MORE: Wheelchair rugby tournament back in Grand Rapids

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