SACRAMENTO (KRON) — Players and coaches are upset after thieves made off with an important trailer.
The trailer is used to transported specialized wheelchairs for a basketball team in Sacramento.
Basketball is played by people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.
For the Sacramento Royals, getting around the court requires wheels.
As the adult team gets its practice in, it’s the newly formed youth team that is left sidelined.
“Heartbroken basically, I’m not going to lie, I cried,” Royals coach Alicia Szutowicz said.
Those tears came Thursday when the trailer used to carry over a dozen specialized chairs for kids was stolen.
“Knowing that someone took something from disabled children, I think that’s the worst part,” Szutowicz said. “I’m going to get a little emotional because it hurts.”
Though none of the chairs, which cost several thousand dollars, were stolen, the 5 by 10 trailer was the only way to get enough chairs over for the youth team members who don’t have their own.
“We’ve worked really hard to attain it for the programs and our biggest goal was to always have a kids program,” Sacramento Royals President Christian Rodriguez said. “That’s finally unfolding here for the last few months and for this to happen right now, right before the season starts. Now, we have eight kids now. They’re depending on use to transfer these chairs into practice, and we can’t do that now.”
Two of the youth players spend time on the adult team as well but feel for their fellow youth members.
“I’m kind of mad about it,” player Stephen Christian said. “Some people love the sport, but they just don’t have the means, or they just can’t do it without the chairs. Not being able to have them on the court, it’s tough.”
A tough outlook for the Royals as well, who might be forced to cancel a youth clinic next month if they can’t find the trailer or raise enough money to get a new one.
“A lot of our kids, this is their only outlet,” Szutowicz said. “They have adapted PE in school, but it’s not a real team. So, telling them that this wonderful thing that you’ve started to build is going to go away, it’s dream crushing.”
Dreams they hope the community can help keep alive.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up for the team.
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