Welcome to the Phoenix Banner Wheelchair Suns


The Phoenix Banner Wheelchair Suns are members of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) and have been extraordinarily successful, consistently ranking among the top teams in the nation. They play 25-30 games a year and make more than 30 appearances, a grueling schedule, but one that allows the teams to have an impact on a wide range of diverse audiences.

Since 1988, the Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns have been competing successfully on the court. At the same time, off the court, they have been bringing their messages of personal determination and public awareness of disability issues to a wide variety of receptive audiences.

Their message is simple and to the point: the challenges of a disability can be conquered; participation in recreational activities, even highly competitive ones, is possible and meaningful; a greater concern with safety issues is important and necessary.

And, they're a heck of a basketball team.

Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns:

● are co-ed

● are from 18 years old to over 50 years old

● have 12-15 players on the traveling squad

● have a range of disabilities (not all our members use chairs all the time)

● are highly skilled athletes

● are committed to delivering their unique messages to an ever-widening audience

● welcome your inquiries and your participation and support!


For K-12 - "It's OK to be Different"

This school program begins with a short presentation on the capabilities of people with disabilities. The team explains that people with disabilities can accomplish a great deal, that their "differences" are not significant and should not be a barrier to friendships and person-to-person interaction. To illustrate their point, the Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns challenge teachers, staff, students, or administrators to a short game of wheelchair basketball. The Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns, of course, easily defeat the school team. The program ends with a discussion of "It's OK to be Different." (Time: 50 minutes)

For Junior High and High School Students - "Drive Safe Campaign - We don't want you on our team."

After a short game of wheelchair basketball between the Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns and a school team of volunteers, players discuss how being in a wheelchair affects one's life. They explain how they were injured, specifically relating what they were doing when the accident occurred - driving while impaired, speeding to get to an appointment, turning to speak to a friend in the back seat, being distracted from the road. This hard-hitting, down-to-earth discussion hits home with this age group. The presentation is especially relevant to driver's education classes, and includes radio and television PSAs, posters and "driver safe" postcards. (Time: 50 minutes)

For Organizations, Associations, Civic Groups and Clubs - "Disability Awareness and Education"

A discussion of the issues an opportunities facing people with disabilities is the focal point of this program, all wrapped around an entertaining wheelchair basketball game between the Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns and a local team composed of celebrities and other community leaders. Often, the game is used as a fund-raising event for a local charity. This venue provides an opportunity to discuss recreational and mentoring activities for people with disabilities, as well as the relationship between participation in sports and one's physical and mental awareness. (Time: one-two hours)

Junior Wheelchair Basketball

This team, organized by players and coaches from the Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns, in collaboration with the Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled, is a great opportunity for young boys and girls, 8-18, to explore and challenge their abilities. In addition to providing an important physical and emotional outlet, the program also creates wonderful mentoring experiences for the adult and junior team members.

Wheelchair Clinics

The Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns have developed a series of clinics designed to teach people in wheelchairs how to use their chairs in a variety of everyday situations. The program promotes greater confidence and independence, and can answer specific questions and concerns. Some of the topics covered during the clinics include:

  Transferring activities - from your chair to furniture, vehicles, and the floor or ground;

  Mechanics of the chair - making adjustments to and maintaining your chair for maximum efficiency;

  Managing your environment - opening and closing doors, using elevators, escalators and stairs, drinking at water fountains, using pay phones, managing curbs, ramps and other terrain, performing wheelies (forwards, backwards and circles). Handling falling out of the chair and other obstacles, and other issues;

  Traveling with your chair - airports, bus and train stations, automobiles.

Clinic are scheduled at various locations and times and are subject to change. Please call the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association at 602-507-429 or toll free at 888-889-2185 for more information about these free clinics or visit the Calendar section of the website,  http://www.azspinal.org.

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