Wheelchair basketball team suffers a loss: equipment trailer

The Gwinnett Heat wheelchair basketball team has had its equipment trailer stolen. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)
The Gwinnett Heat wheelchair basketball team has had its equipment trailer stolen. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Members of the Gwinnett Heat haven’t let the fact that they are in wheelchairs keep them from playing basketball.

But things have gotten tougher for them lately. Over Christmas break, the 12-foot van they used to haul equipment was stolen, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Now, Derek Claros and other team members have to rely on families to get their gear to practices and games, the station reported.

“My parents drive a Honda,” he said. “Our vehicle is much smaller, so we can't carry the chairs to practice.”

The trailer was parked behind Hull Middle School in Duluth, team managers said. About 2:30 a.m. one day, school police say surveillance video recorded two people near the trailer just before it disappeared, Channel 2 reported.

Since a photo and a team logo were on the side and back of the trailer, the people who took the van had to know what it was used for, team officials said.

Gwinnett schools official Mike Phillips, who works with the Heat, said police are investigating, and officials are trying to get a new trailer.

Also, a GoFundMe site has been set up to raise funds to buy a new trailer.

But Phillips noted the effect the incident had.

“You just don't really know,” Phillips said, “the impact you had on a bunch of kids who overcome adversity every day.”

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