Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment of Pittsburg, Kan., was the title sponsor of a wheelchair basketball event that attracted four teams, including the top-ranked one in the country.
The Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment Gorilla Invitational took place Dec. 19-21 at Pittsburg State University (PSU) and was co-sponsored by the PSU Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation in cooperation with the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Rollin’ Razorbacks of Arkansas, currently ranked number one in the nation, won the tournament. But the weekend was about more than just basketball, said Gary Miller, director of Mt. Carmel.
“We had just over 50 individuals in wheelchairs,” Miller said about the event’s attendance. Another two dozen spectators also attended, and one official who worked from his wheelchair “trained a couple of other refs in how to correctly officiate the game,” Miller noted.
The tournament received extensive local coverage from such media as The Joplin Globe and the Morning Sun newspapers.
Tournament officials sought to draw teams from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas by holding the event at centrally located Pittsburg State. Officials also hoped the tournament would boost interest in wheelchair sports in general.
Spectators and athletes were kept busy for the weekend, with Miller explaining, “Each team had a minimum of eight persons, and we had a total of four teams participate in the tourney. They each played multiple games, with the final game on Sunday the 21st in the afternoon.”
And last month’s event, Miller added, is just the beginning. “We will continue to sponsor this activity,” he said, “as the participation and the response from the players was great. They like the facility, and our central location was good for all who had to drive here.”
Mt. Carmel is a DME supplier specializing in mobility and rehab products and services.