JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dozens of athletes competed and made new friends during the inaugural ‘Brooks Borne to Play’ Classic Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament held Saturday and Sunday held at the University of North Florida.
Seven teams competed in the tournament including the reigning
champs the Brooks BullSharks.17-year-old Christian Borne Jr. is on the team and has been playing wheelchair basket for years.
“I’ve really had fun. I’ve made at lot of friends and we keep up with each other," Christian Borne Jr, who plays for Brooks BullSharks, said.
Born without the use of his legs, it was his father Christian Borne Senior that introduced him to the sport. His father was a physical therapist at Brooks for 20 years. He was also an avid triathlete and advocate of sports and fitness. He died suddenly in 2021 due to a heart attack.
His legacy lives on through this tournament, which was named in honor of his service to Brooks and provides disabled athletes from 6 to18 years old an outlet for friendly competition.
“He was always willing to serve others, and we have an award named after that. We have a borne to serve award," Borne Jr said.
Borne’s coach, Matthew Sechrist, knows all too well the impact the sport has on young disabled athletes. Sechrist was born with iSpina bifida and grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, where he was the only child with a disability. When he moved to Florida he discovered the sport and with it a new found community.
“That’s important to have all of that support, and sometimes we don’t know where to find it, you know. We’re not just all rolling around the streets and commonly seeing each other. So, to have Brooks and to have a place that we know we can all be together and have that sense of community, that’s really what’s important about it," Matthew Sechrist, a coach, said
Seven teams competed for the tournament including the raining champs the Brooks BullSharks which Borne plays on.
“They all look out for each other that’s what my dad would have done, he looks out for other," Borne Jr said.
Wheelchair basketball is one of the many activities offered through Brooks Pediatric Recreation. The program serves any child, from birth to 18 years old, with any type of limitation/disability.