Paralympians return to basketball court for alumni game

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In a gym in Golden Valley, young people living with disabilities are turning what some see as limitations into opportunity.

2016 national champions in wheelchair basketball, the Junior Rolling Timberwolves varsity team is set for another great year. The team has consistently ranked in the top three teams nationally since its conception in the early 1990s, and has produced at least four Paralympians.

Alumni Rose Hollermann recently won gold in wheelchair basketball at the Rio Paralympic games, and is currently on full athletic scholarship at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Thanks to the skills she learned on the Junior Rolling Timberwolves, at age 15, Hollermann became one of the youngest people to make a USA basketball team.

“[if it weren’t for wheelchair basketball], I definitely wouldn’t be in Texas going to school—who knows if I would even be going to college,” said Hollermann who plans on returning to the games in Tokyo in 2020.

Hollermann played in the Junior Rolling Timberwolves alumni game Tuesday night in Golden Valley, alongside fellow paralympian and alumni Chuck Aoki.

“It’s a dream come true and one of the best feelings in the world,” said Aoki of winning silver in wheelchair rugby during the 2016 paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Aoki and Hollermann hope to be an inspiration to other high school students currently playing on the Minnesota team, showing them that hard work and dedication will pay off.

The Junior Rolling Timberwolves team is a product of Allina Health’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.