Tim Nugent, National Wheelchair Basketball Association (#316)
Tim Nugent, the first commissioner of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, discusses the benefits of participation in sports for those who use wheelchairs, including increased self-confidence, diminished self-consciousness, and a more visible presence in communities.
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Nugent, who organized the first National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament while he was a doctoral student at the University of Illinois in 1949, talks about the early stages of the NWBA and changes that have occurred since its inception. For instance, advances in wheelchair technology, including improved wheels and frames, anti-tipping devices, and much lighter weights, have made the games faster and more competitive, with scores now frequently breaking the 100 mark.
Nugent goes on to address the issue of the accessibility of public buildings to people with disabilities. While many physical changes have been made and ramps have been built, he says, the much more difficult task of changing people’s attitudes still lies ahead.