NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — One of only 200 National Wheelchair Basketball Association teams is getting ready for its first game of the season on the Grand Strand.
The team is called the Coastal Chairmen, and two players said they went decades believing that they couldn’t play sports because they didn’t know things like wheelchair basketball were available.
Coastal Chairmen,’s Bill Johnstone, a player and director for sports, said he played sports when he was younger, He lost his leg at age 25 and said the organization has helped him.
Johnstone has been playing basketball with Coastal Adaptive Sports for five years. Before that, he said he went almost 30 years thinking he’d never play sports again. Johnstone was asked how that made him feel.
“Frustrating. Disappointing,” he said. “But finding sports helps keep you out of the depression, wants you to keep striving forward.”
Jesse Lind plays for the Coastal Chairmen and is their coach. Lind was paralyzed when he was 19 years old, and he said back at home there weren’t any sports teams he could be a part of.
After spending hours online searching for places that offered adaptive sports, he made the move to the Grand Strand six years ago and once he found wheelchair basketball he was back in the game.
“It just felt home, it just felt home,” Lind said. You know what I mean. And obviously the first time back on the court you do not play at a great level.”
He’s now on the board of Coastal Adaptive Sports and helped create its NWBA team, the Coastal Chairmen.
“It was I think our 5th year since we created our team that we finally made it to nationals,” Lind said. “We finished 10th in the country. That was a big feat for us.”
Even with a national ranking under their belt, the team is facing one big obstacle.
“Facilities, facilities, facilities,” Lind said.
Lind said North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center is the only place he’s found on the Grand Strand that will let them practice for free once a week and for the season to be a Grand Slam they need support from the community.
“When we have home games,” Lind said. “What’s a home game without a home crowd?”
The Coastal Chairmen will have their first game of the season right here on the court on October 7th at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center at 1 p.m.
It’s free to the public, and the team is hoping to play in front of bleachers full of fans.
Here is the link to their website: https://www.coastaladaptivesports.org