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Monday, February 26, 2024

Paul Schulte wants students of all abilities to have the opportunities he had.

Schulte, a five-time MVP in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, spoke to UF students and faculty Friday about his experiences in wheelchair basketball.

The Disability Resource Center sponsored the event, which took place in the Reitz Union. Schulte wants to work with the center to create a wheelchair basketball team at UF, he said.

“I wanted to come to gain an understanding of the efforts students and staff have made so far in creating a team,” Schulte said.

Schulte competed in the Paralympic Games in 2000, 2008 and 2012. He said bringing a wheelchair basketball team to UF will attract students who can improve the university.

“Everything about the University of Florida screams having an active lifestyle, and everyone benefits from the relationship of an active lifestyle,” he said. “ I am happy that UF values stories like mine and actively tries to promote opportunities for their students.”

Schulte said getting the proper wheelchairs for the team might pose a challenge. Wheelchairs for the game have wheels tilted at an angle, which lets them move faster than an ordinary wheelchair, he said.

Chelsea Richards, a 22-year-old UF mechanical engineering senior, said she attended the event to learn more about how the wheelchairs used in the sport are engineered. She said the event helped push for inclusive sports at UF.

“I learned that there are lots of possibilities to accomplish your dreams, and you do not learn that until you set your mind to dream big,” she said.

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