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Wheelchair football tournament set for Saturday
Athletes to compete in Forsyth Central's gym
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Atlanta Wolfpack bus drivers Janet Finch and Jackie Blackwell cheer for their team during last year's Wheelchair football state championship game between the West Georgia Wolverines and the Atlanta Wolfpack at Forsyth Central High School. - photo by File photo
For YMCA Community Program Director Lisa Brasher, who coaches wheelchair football, the concept of teamwork extends beyond the playing field.

She takes her team, the YMCA Mustangs, to amusement parks, on camping trips and any type of activity that helps the young athletes “develop a really strong bond.”

That’s the secret, she said, to preparing them for events like Saturday’s tournament at Forsyth Central High School (click for map), where three wheelchair football teams from north Georgia will compete.

It’s a day that event organizer Sherri Fuentes said “provides them with the opportunity to be part of a team, for many of the athletes for the first time,” she said, adding that there are “few competitive sports available to these students and athletes.”

There are also few opportunities like Saturday’s tournament for Forsyth County residents. It doesn’t cost a dime to see the teams compete.

The YMCA Mustangs are Forsyth County’s adapted home team. The Mustangs plan to defend their stomping grounds against the NEGA Renegades and Gwinnett County Heat.

Mustangs Coach Brasher has been involved with these tournaments since 1999. The event is sponsored by the American Association of Adapted Sports and the Georgia High School Association.

Wheelchair football is the adapted spring sport. Other spring activities include track and field and an alternative type of baseball.

In the winter, teams play basketball and soccer, and in the fall many of the same athletes play wheelchair handball.

The American Association of Adapted Sports Web site describes wheelchair football as “a fast-paced sport that is best played when athletes are in maximum physical condition, and at the top of their game in teamwork, strategy and wheelchair-handling skills.”

Saturday’s games begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Spectators are encouraged to come out and enjoy the tournament in Central’s gym.

E-mail Frank Reddy at