Va. wheelchair basketball team going for glory at national tournament

- March Madness has gripped the nation, but what do you do when your local teams are out of the mix? Forget about Maryland and Virginia. There is a team from right here in the DMV going for glory.

The sport of wheelchair basketball is not for the faint of heart.

“It's really physical,” said Daniel Malloy. “You’re bleeding sometimes.”

Nor the faint of breath.

“You're using all your upper body,” said Matthew Richardson. “You got to keep up with them. You got to have a lot of momentum.”

The Fairfax Falcons are a group of wheelchair athletes ranging from ages 8 to 18. They are here for the competition and the camaraderie.

“It feels kind of right at home because I feel like I'm around the type of people that have the same disability as me, so I feel like I’m not as much different than they are,” said Malloy. “It's really rewarding to be able to play with them.”

“We're all the same,” said Kidus Ali. “We came here to play basketball.”

They have played their way from a small middle school gym in Springfield, Virginia to next week's National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Kentucky.

“To get to experience that and see people from all over the world, that's fabulous,” said Amy Watson, the mother of a Falcons player. “But I never saw that coming when he was born and he was so sick. He needed all these surgeries. I didn’t think he was going to be my traveling athlete, but he is. He proved me wrong. That’s what these kids do. They break limits.”

“Don't doubt yourself, never play yourself,” said Richardson. “If you want to do something, go out in do it. Don't let nothing stop you.”

The Falcons have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for their trip to Louisville. For more information, go to www.gofundme.com/emrtzywk and www.fairfaxfalcons.org.

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