Rolling with the West Georgia Wolverines

WARM SPRINGS, Ga. - In Warm Springs, Georgia, you'll find the town's most known site — Roosevelt's Little White House.

It was the personal retreat of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Just down the road, you'll find another retreat for a group of athletes called the West Georgia Wolverines.

"You just get used to the chair," Jesse Cochran said. "It's almost like it's not there like you're just using your legs."

Some wheelchair athletes can walk, but they all have a physical disability preventing them from playing a stand up sport. The one player on the Wolverines confined to a wheelchair is also the team's leader.

"I try to look for people that are struggling," team captain Logan Wegien said. "People that look like they're having a hard time with their disability or people that have just newly found their disability."

Logan is one of those kids dealing with his disability after a car accident left him without the use of his legs.

"I was five years old when I was put in a wheelchair so I didn't really have too much to do anymore until Coach Mac came and found me," he said.

Coach Richard McIntyre, or Coach Mac as the players call him, took over the team in 2001.

His original plan was to coach for a few months until the team could find a replacement coach.

17 years later, he's still the head coach of the Wolverines.

"I learned how to serve. In fact i'm one of the ones that forgot how to say no," Coach McIntyre said.

Coach McIntyre served in the Vietnam War and started teaching physical education in Meriwether County in 1972 where he stayed until retiring 35 years later.

"One of the biggest things is getting kids who qualify into a chair," Coach McIntyre said. "Their afraid of being ostracized for being in a chair."

It all starts with taking that first spin on the court.

"I think all of us have helped each other grow," Logan Wegien said. "We've had kids that were bullied, kind of depressed over their disabilities and by the time they end up leaving here it's all gone."

Helping kids find a place to belong makes all the hours of coaching worth it for Coach McIntyre.

"I mean that's so great to see somebody succeed who didn't think they could," Coach McIntyre said.

Succeeding, believing in yourself and each other. That's the true value of sports, no matter how it's played.



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